Congress funded three key programs championed by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center on Saturday as part of an appropriations bill that provided $26.7 billion to support U.S. Department of Justice programs. Congress passed a the fiscal 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which will fund the government through Sept. 30, 2015.The omnibus includes funding for Department of Justice (DOJ) programs at $26.7 billion.
The funding, which will last through Sept. 30, 2015, included $68 million to continue to fund grants through the Second Chance Act, $8.5 million for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (created by the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, or MIOTCRA) and $27.5 million for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.
A summary of key programs follows:
Signed into law 2008, Congress designed the Second Chance Act to improve outcomes for people returning to communities after incarceration. The first-of-its-kind legislation authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide support strategies and services intended to reduce recidivism by improving outcomes for people returning from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities.
MIOTCRA was signed into law in 2004 and created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program to help states, local government, and tribal organizations improve responses to people with mental disorders who are involved with the criminal justice system. The program facilitates collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and behavioral health systems to better serve individuals with mental disorders and to increase public safety.
Justice reinvestment is a data-driven approach to reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending, and reinvest savings in strategies that improve public safety. By managing criminal justice populations more cost-effectively, states generate savings that are reinvested in evidence-based strategies to increase public safety while holding offenders accountable.