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Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

On February 4, 2008, President Bush unveiled his fiscal year 2009 budget proposal. The $3.1 trillion measure calls for $22.7 billion for the Department of Justice, including increased spending for border security and the Department’s counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities.

Similar to the President’s proposal last year, Justice funding is consolidated into four large competitive grant programs: the Byrne Public Safety and Protection Program the Violent Crime Reduction Partnership Initiative, the Violence Against Women Program and a juvenile grant program called the Child Safety and Juvenile Justice Program.

Within this consolidation proposal, funding for some individual programs is eliminated, including the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG), the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), the Weed and Seed Program, and the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA). Funding for MIOTCRA, in particular, has been critical for improving the response to people with mental illnesses who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

The President’s budget also proposes to eliminate funding for the National Institute of Corrections, an agency created by Congress in 1974 to provide state and local corrections organizations with training and technical assistance and to influence correctional policies, practices, and operations nationwide.

Overall the President’s budget includes $39.6 million for prisoner reentry initiatives by combining the Department of Labor’s Prisoner Reentry and the Responsible Reintegration of Youthful Offenders programs into a single program that would “provide mentoring and job training to promote the successful return of adult and juvenile ex-offenders into mainstream society.”

Below is a breakdown of the President’s proposal for criminal justice programs. Additional agency breakdowns and program budgets will be provided as they become available.

Justice Funding Chart Highlights (in millions)


FY06 actual

FY07 actual

FY08 actual

FY09 proposed

Byrne Public Safety and Protection Program



Byrne Justice Assistance Grants










Weed and Seed





Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Program





Byrne Discretionary Grants





Violent Crime Reduction Partnership Initiative



Child Safety and Juvenile Justice Program



Drug Courts





Residential Substance Abuse Treatment





New Violence Against Women Grant Program


Budget Process

The President’s budget proposal is just the first step in a long process to pass a final budget. Next the House and Senate will pass a concurrent Budget Resolution. The Budget Resolution will include the total amount available for discretionary spending and a nonbinding statement of Congress’s spending priorities. The Budget Resolution will not include funding levels for specific programs.

After the Budget Resolution is passed, each appropriations subcommittee will receive a specific allocation. In each chamber, the subcommittee’s responsibility is to allocate its funds among the various programs within its jurisdiction. Finally, after all the subcommittee bills are passed, a final appropriations bill will be considered. The federal fiscal year ends on September 30, although for the past several years, Congress has not passed an appropriations bill by that date.



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