Strengthening the criminal justice capabilities of tribal, state, and local governments is one of the most important ways the Department carries out its leadership role in preventing and controlling crime. In 1998, the Department encouraged states to undertake a wide range of improvement efforts with the help of research and evaluation initiatives, aggressive enforcement and prevention strategies, and generous grant programs. The Department plans to expand and improve its own research and statistics gathering so as to provide state, local, and tribal governments the latest research and evaluation information available on crime and crime control.
Starting with the passage of the 1994 Crime Act, OJP has used money from program funds to support research and evaluation aimed at reducing crime, enhancing public safety, and improving the administration of justice. For example, each of the OJP Crime Act Program Offices allocates a percentage of its available funds--up to 14 percent--annually to fund new program evaluation. For each program area, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is developing a multiyear research and national evaluation strategy. OJP has worked to include such "built-in" evaluations for all its funding programs, and the Congress has approved such set-asides for research and evaluation to find out what works and to guide future spending and program planning. Congress has also approved training and technical assistance set-asides for these programs.
To help communities resolve public safety issues in a comprehensive and strategic manner, the Office of the Associate Attorney General (OASG) is coordinating an ambitious initiative that uses a problem-solving, information-driven approach to reduce and prevent crime. The Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative (SACSI) is currently focused on five pilot communities. Working closely with the U.S. Attorneys in Memphis, Indianapolis, Winston-Salem, New Haven, and Portland, Oregon, and with support from a dozen justice components, SACSI stems from evidence showing that community safety problem-solving is best addressed by collecting and analyzing detailed information to determine the precise nature and scope of local crime problems, then designing interventions to meet them.
In this vein, the geographic information systems (GIS) staff is participating in a cooperative project with local police departments in the Washington/Baltimore area to develop the largest, most powerful regional crime analysis system of its kind. This system, called the Regional Crime Analysis Geographic Information System, places valuable crime analysis, mapping, and reporting tools in the hands of police officers, crime analysts, and managers. The system will permit rapid cross-border data sharing and analysis among participating police departments.
In the area of gun violence, the Department has a working group tasked with identifying promising reduction strategies for local policymakers. The group, chaired by the Office of Policy Development (OPD), includes representatives from 10 Department organizations. It has examined more than 400 gun violence prevention programs across the country, identifying approximately 60 as "promising" or as having a demonstrated, measurable effect on violent crime. A Gun Injury Prevention subgroup of "5 Goals 4 Kids" includes the Treasury Department, ATF, HHS, Centers for Disease Control, Police Executive Research Forum, National Crime Prevention Council, and the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.
A joint effort by BJS and the National Center for Education Statistics produced "Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 1998"--the first in a series of annual reports presenting the latest available data on school crime and student safety collected by a variety of Federal departments and agencies.
More than 3,000 local jurisdictions received local law enforcement block grants totaling $440 million in 1998 to help them reduce crime and improve public safety. The funds can be used to hire police officers, improve security in and around schools, purchase law enforcement equipment and technology, enhance the adjudication of violent offenders, and for other public safety efforts.
Promising community-based programs involving police officers and youth organizations are helping young people use their non-school hours productively and are keeping them out of trouble, according to the NIJ report, "Kids, Cops & Communities." The report highlights successful approaches to preventing juvenile delinquency and crime in Bristol, Connecticut; Arlington, Texas; and Spokane, Washington.
A joint effort among OJJDP, BJA, the National Crime Prevention Council, and The Advertising Council, Inc., produced a new public service education campaign designed to dispel stereotypes about teens and encourage youth involvement in crime prevention. The new public education campaign, "Investing in Youth for a Safe Future," features print, television, and radio public service announcements (PSAs) that challenge young people to prove adults wrong by participating in such activities as neighborhood watches, neighborhood beautification, and mentoring. These PSAs also challenge adults to recognize teens for their positive actions. The Department contacted major media outlets to encourage them to air the new PSAs.
With school violence dominating the headlines last year, the COPS Office launched several initiatives to prevent crime and disorder in and around schools. One of these, the School-Based Partnership Program, encourages cooperative relationships between law enforcement and educators to prevent violence, help children feel safe in schools, and reduce the time teachers must spend on discipline issues. Additionally, working with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, COPS supported the development of "Preventing School Violence: Best Practices of Mayors in Collaboration with the Police, Schools, and Communities," which was presented to President Clinton and the Attorney General at the White House Conference on School Safety.
A new block grant program administered by OJJDP, the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grants Program, promotes greater accountability in the juvenile justice system. In 1998, more than $232 million was awarded to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories for such efforts as construction of juvenile detention or correctional facilities, hiring of prosecutors and other personnel, gun and drug courts, and accountability-based programs.
NIJ's Breaking the Cycle program is testing the theory that reduced drug use in a defendant population will result in decline in criminal behavior, improvement in the population's social functioning, and more effective use of criminal justice resources, particularly detention capacity. Jacksonville, Florida, and the Pierce County Alliance of Tacoma, Washington, each received $3 million in 1998 to replicate the program pioneered in Birmingham, Alabama. Each site is developing a systemwide intervention strategy to identify, supervise, and treat all drug-using defendants involved in the criminal justice system.
In 1998, in support of the President's initiative for deterring crime and substance abuse, the Department awarded more than $424 million to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories to help incarcerate violent offenders for longer periods. Through funds from the Violent Offender Incarceration/Truth-in-Sentencing (VOI/TIS) Grant Program, states can build or expand prisons or jails to house violent offenders and can hold violent offenders accountable through Truth-in-Sentencing. A key component of the VOI/TIS program aims to reduce crime through its substance abuse provision that required states, by September 1, 1998, to implement a program of controlled substance abuse testing, intervention, treatment, and sanctions, with specific policies and procedures. All 50 states developed and submitted strategies for implementing such a program. Through this program, states were to ensure a response--either sanction and/or treatment--to every positive test and every case where a need is identified. Responses may include event documentation, enhanced case management, increased supervision, or imposition of other graduated sanction and treatment interventions.
On January 12, 1998, the President asked the Attorney General to submit legislation to Congress that would grant states the flexibility to use their prison construction funds to provide a full range of drug testing, treatment, and sanctions for offenders in prison. On March 24, the Attorney General submitted to Congress legislation addressing this issue. Congress passed it, along with the FY 1999 appropriation bill.
In contrast to national trends, serious and violent crime rates in Indian Country have increased significantly. Gang violence and juvenile violence, in particular, have increased dramatically in recent years. An interdepartmental Executive Committee for Indian Country Law Enforcement Improvement, set up to analyze law enforcement problems and improve public safety and criminal justice in Indian Country, made several recommendations in 1998 following a Department-led series of tribal consultations on Indian Country law enforcement. The executive committee's recommendations, set forth in a January 20, 1998, letter to the President from the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Interior, included reorganizing law enforcement within Indian Country and providing it with adequate resources by phasing in sizable increases to the current $130 million budget over the next 4 years.
During 1998, the COPS Office provided over $15 million to 81 tribes in 23 states. The COPS Office Tribal Team led specialized community policing training for remote Alaska Native Villages, advised on a training video produced for the California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) on law enforcement under Public Law 280, and assisted the Department's Community Relations Service (CRS) in mediating disputes between tribal and non-tribal law enforcement agencies in Minnesota.
The Department's FBI laboratory has developed cutting-edge technology in the fight against crime, providing invaluable services to state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. One of its major achievements concerns breakthroughs in law enforcement use of DNA.
The National Congress of American Indians, representing 210 tribes, passed a resolution on November 24, 1997, that "congratulates President William Jefferson Clinton for recognizing that the Federal Government has failed to provide adequate support for law enforcement in Indian Country, [and urges] President Clinton to make improving law enforcement in Indian Country a high priority in his second term, specifically by including in his FY 1999 budget a substantial increase in funding for law enforcement initiatives in Indian Country."
In 1998, the FBI laboratory was able to use DNA profiles to identify individuals as the source of a stain--the first laboratory in the United States, either public or private, that offers this conclusion on its reports. This conclusion can now be reached as a result of an increase in the number of sites examined in the DNA molecule, as well as an increase in population frequency data collected throughout the world. Both were instrumental in securing the endorsement of this procedure by the National Research Council. This advancement represents a dramatic step forward for the forensic DNA community, as DNA examiners--if presented with sufficient DNA typing information--can now directly link an individual to an evidentiary stain. The first report featuring this conclusion issued from an investigation involving a serial rapist convicted of state charges in Wisconsin.
The FBI laboratory also has implemented mitochondrial DNA typing, which expanded the capability of typing forensic samples with very little DNA, such as hairs, degraded bones, and teeth. The FBI laboratory is the first forensic laboratory to utilize this technology in criminal case work.
In 1998, BJA awarded more than $194,000 to each state to develop or improve their DNA analysis capabilities and computerized identification systems. The State Identification Systems (SIS) program, authorized by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, is administered by BJA with funding from the FBI. The SIS program enhances a state's ability to become fully integrated with the databases of the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), NCIC, and the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).
Another key laboratory program is the Computer Analysis Response Team (CART), which extracts relevant data from cases dealing with health care fraud, child pornography, terrorism, drugs, financial institution fraud, and public corruption. During 1998, CART conducted over 2,400 computer forensic examinations. The majority of these examinations were associated with the Violent Crime Major Offenders and the White Collar Crime Programs. In addition, CART headquarters examiners provided support for 86 cases involving "Innocent Images," as well as for 49 child pornography cases.
DRUGFIRE, an automated computer technology capable of making otherwise unidentified links between firearms-related evidence (cartridge cases, fired bullets, and firearms), was developed to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in the fight against violent crime. Nationwide, DRUGFIRE has linked more than 2,600 criminal shooting cases during its first 6 years of operation. The linking of evidence from crime scenes provides police with investigative leads that otherwise would have gone undetected. In 1998, 37 DRUGFIRE systems were installed in state and local forensic laboratories, more than 140 firearms examiners and technicians were trained, and more than 1,000 "hits" were made using the DRUGFIRE system.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) directs the efforts of ATF and the FBI in achieving interoperability between their ballistic imaging systems. Limited interoperability testing occurred in 1998; test-fired cartridge cases were successfully imaged, searched, and correlated between the two ballistic imaging systems.
The FBI is expanding the National Crime Information Center to NCIC 2000. NCIC checks its computerized files for quick information on wanted persons, stolen goods, and other information vital to state and local police. All software development for the NCIC 2000 project--including the Fingerprint Matching System, mobile imaging unit, and the NCIC 2000 workstation--were completed as of July 1998, and the FBI began operational testing with interested states.
The FBI expanded the NCIC Violent Gang and Terrorist Organizations File (VGTOF) to promote sharing of information between states and local systems. Forty states have completed programming for entry capabilities into the VGTOF. At the end of September 1998, 4,466 gang members and 1,740 groups had been entered into this file. Further, owing to the outstanding support provided by the FBI during 1998, the NCIC's Protection Order File has increased from 8 participating states with 10,000 records to 19 states with 108,000 records.
During 1998, three of the six builds for the FBI's IAFIS were completed. Accomplishments included the electronic storage and retrieval of fingerprint images to allow comparisons to be made. IAFIS is on schedule and on budget and is expected to be operational in July 1999.
In 1998, the FBI processed nearly 7 million criminal fingerprints and more than 6 million civil fingerprints for state and local law enforcement. This was accomplished through streamlined work processes and new technological capabilities inherent in the Image Storage and Retrieval Element (ISRE). ISRE made it possible to use electronic images for fingerprint comparisons, eliminating the need to manually pull and file paper fingerprint cards from the master criminal file. By September 1998, the FBI's 1.4 million fingerprint backlog had been eliminated, with criminal turnaround time going from a high of 106 days at the beginning of the year to 8 days in September 1998. The civil turnaround time was cut in half to 13 days. With the backlog gone, turnaround time both for criminal and civil fingerprint cards was 8 days in the early fall of 1998.
In 1998, the COPS Office awarded nearly $1.2 billion in grants to put more than 17,500 officers on the streets, bringing the ranks of community policing officers funded to 88,112. Nearly half of those officers and deputies are already working in the community. The Department is ahead of schedule and under budget in its commitment to fulfilling the President's goal to add 100,000 community policing officers to our Nation's streets.
The COPS Office's efforts have focused more recently on enhancing community-based policing solutions in our Nation's schools and on providing technology capabilities for local police departments. The COPS Office has also worked to ensure that officers hired under its grant programs are properly trained and retained beyond the term of the initial Federal grant, so that quality officers remain on the streets.
The Department continued last year to promote stronger linkages between local communities and their criminal justice systems through an enhanced commitment to community justice initiatives at the local level. Community justice expands the problem-solving ethic of community policing to other criminal justice institutions, such as prosecution, courts, and corrections. Strategies to tackle violent and drug-related crime by gangs and juveniles comprise a major part of the Department's community-based approach to crime and justice--an approach that includes Weed and Seed programs and mobile police stations to reduce and revitalize targeted neighborhoods, drug courts to help nonviolent drug abusers stop the cycle of drug use and crime, and conflict resolution techniques to ease community ethnic and racial tension. The Department plans to continue emphasizing community-based approaches to crime prevention, involving citizens in innovative community programs that make a difference.
With a focus on problem-solving and strong linkages to the community, community justice is an approach the Department has embraced. In 1998, the Department convened the second Community Justice Conference, with more than 700 people attending. Participants represented the judiciary, law enforcement, community residents, probation, corrections, faith-based communities, private foundations, and community nonprofit groups from around the country.Other important community-based programs include the following:
Drug courts are another effective strategy for reducing drug-related crime. Through the coercive power of the criminal justice system, drug courts combine supervision with sanctions, drug testing, treatment, and an array of other services to encourage nonviolent, drug-abusing offenders to stop the cycle of drug use and crime. OJP's Drug Courts Program Office awarded more than 150 jurisdictions grants totaling $27 million to plan, implement, enhance, and track the progress of drug courts. The Drug Court Clearinghouse at American University found that recidivism rates continue to be significantly reduced for drug court graduates. In addition, drug courts save money by reducing the use of jail space and probation services, as well as the number of drug-addicted babies born to addict mothers.
The Department continues to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques to resolve disputes in our Nation's schools, police departments, and communities. A frequent user of ADR techniques is the Community Relations Service. Each year, CRS mediates court-referred mediation cases from state and Federal judges that can be handled more effectively through ADR. CRS also assists local law enforcement and event organizers in planning for marches and rallies, helping to coordinate planning and ensure safety for all involved. CRS mitigated community conflict with law enforcement through community meetings, training, and recommendations to police departments about practices that will change community perceptions.
To address community conflict arising from tribal gambling operations and environmental issues, CRS, in conjunction with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and National American Indian organizations, conducted training for tribes and Native American groups. The training focused on conflict resolution and mediation, to increase parties' abilities to resolve conflicts before they escalate into more serious violence.Other community-based resolution activities in 1998 include the following:
One of the key principles of community justice is to make the justice system more responsive to the community, stressing the need to recompense victims of crime. In 1998, the Department implemented programs supported through the Crime Victims Fund, as well as other initiatives designed to ensure the safety of and provide assistance to all victims and witnesses.
The Crime Victims Fund is made up of fines paid by Federal criminal offenders as part of their sentences. BOP's Inmate Financial Responsibility Program contributed to the fund, collecting nearly $6 million in 1998 in court-ordered obligations from inmates. The Antitrust Division paid $267 million to the fund in fines imposed mainly for illegal international cartel behavior. Funding goes to victim assistance and support groups or directly to victims to compensate their crime-related losses. The Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) awarded a total of $363 million in 1998 to aid crime victims.
Victim service professionals from around the world received intense training in July 1998 at the fourth annual National Victim Service Academy, held at four universities across the Nation. Sponsored by OVC, the Academy provides important updates on victimology, victims' rights and services, and new developments in the field of victim assistance. Participants received "New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century," a comprehensive report on victims' rights and services.
As part of the Attorney General's effort to protect America's children, the Department supported amendments to the Child Support Recovery Act (CSRA) to create felony provisions for parents who willfully fail to pay child support obligations for a child living in another state. On June 24, 1998, the President signed into law a bill amending several key sections of the CSRA. The amendments created two first-offense felony provisions under which a delinquent child support obligor is now subject to a 2-year maximum prison term and a fine for: (1) traveling in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent to evade a child support obligation if the the obligation has remained unpaid for longer than 1 year or is greater than $5,000; or (2) willfully failing to pay a support obligation for a child residing in another state if the obligation has remained unpaid for longer than 2 years or is greater than $10,000.
The Department also continued to develop effective case referral and screening procedures in coordination with state and local child support agencies. The U.S. Attorneys have steadily increased the number of prosecutions against parents who willfully fail to pay, from 82 cases in 1995 to 249 cases in 1998.
OJP's Violence Against Women Grant Office (VAWGO) provides funds to help communities improve their response to violence against women--domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assaults. In 1998, VAWGO awarded more than three times the money and more than twice the number of grants awarded last year under the Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grant Program. A total of $19.4 million went to 62 jurisdictions to help women and children in rural areas affected by domestic violence. Another 90 jurisdictions received $53.8 million through VAWGO's Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies Program to help investigate and prosecute domestic violence as a serious crime.
The COPS Office awarded more than $10 million in grants to 44 agencies in 28 states to help law enforcement officials combat domestic violence under its Community Policing to Combat Domestic Violence Program. The grants fund training, research, threat assessment, problem-solving, and other efforts that dramatically reduce the number of incidents of domestic violence.Other 1998 efforts to combat violence against women include the following: