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The Attorney General's Smart on Crime Initiative

The Attorney General's Smart on Crime Initiative

"By targeting the most serious offenses, prosecuting the most dangerous criminals, directing assistance to crime 'hot spots,' and pursuing new ways to promote public safety, deterrence, efficiency, and fairness - we can become both smarter and tougher on crime."

- Attorney General Eric Holder
Remarks to American Bar Association's Annual Convention in San Francisco, CA
August 12, 2013

About the Smart on Crime Initiative

At the direction of the Attorney General in early 2013, the Justice Department launched a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system in order to identify reforms that would ensure federal laws are enforced more fairly and—in an era of reduced budgets—more efficiently. Five goals were identified as a part of this review:

  1. To ensure finite resources are devoted to the most important law enforcement priorities;
  2. To promote fairer enforcement of the laws and alleviate disparate impacts of the criminal justice system
  3.  To ensure just punishments for low-level, nonviolent convictions
  4.  To bolster prevention and reentry efforts to deter crime and reduce recidivism
  5. To strengthen protections for vulnerable populations

Read the full version of the Justice Department's report entitled, “Smart on Crime: Reforming the Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century.”

Smart on Crime Fact Sheet

Policy Documents

Memoranda to Heads of Department of Justice Components and U.S. Attorneys

Federal Prosecution Priorities, August 12, 2013

Department Policy on Charging Mandatory Minimum Sentences and Recidivist Enhancements in Certain Drug Cases, August 12, 2013

Consideration of Collateral Consequences in Rulemaking, August 12, 2013

Retroactive Application of Department Policy on Charging Mandatory Minimum Sentences and Recidivist Enhancements in Certain Drug Cases, August 29, 2013

The Attorney General's Smart on Crime Tour

The Attorney General has traveled across the country to showcase the success of reentry courts in helping former prisoners re-enter into their communities as productive citizens and diversion programs that offer alternatives to incarceration. These programs reflect the department's “Smart on Crime” approach, by helping curb re-victimization and prioritizing treatment and supervision for low-level, non-violent offenders.

Charleston, S.C. - April 11, 2014

The BRIDGE Program in the District of South Carolina is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Probation Office, the Federal Public Defender's Office, and the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina that provides rehabilitative services to individuals with substance abuse problems involved in the federal criminal justice system. The program seeks to provide offender rehabilitation through implementing a blend of treatment and alternatives to incarceration.

Roanoke, Va. - Jan. 23, 2014 

The Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) in the Western District of Virginia is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Courts, U.S. Probation, the U.S. Attorney's Office, defense attorneys and the Salem, Va., Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Court seeks to provide treatment services to veterans who commit federal misdemeanors through a program of pretrial diversion or probation that is intended to address the underlying causes of criminal conduct.

St. Louis, Mo. - Nov. 14, 2013 

The Expanding Addicts' Recovery Network (EARN) program was established in the Eastern District of Missouri. The EARN program seeks to provide voluntary intensive recovery for individuals on probation or supervised release that suffer from drug abuse issues. The program offers treatment and rehabilitation service for offenders to successfully re-enter their communities.

Peoria, Ill. - Nov. 14, 2013

The Pretrial Alternatives to Detention Initiative (PADI) program was established in the Central District of Illinois. The program is anchored by the collaboration of the U.S. Courts with U.S. Probation, the U.S. Attorney's Office, substance abuse treatment providers, defense attorneys and the defendants.  PADI is a voluntary program for selected candidates who are required to attend regular court sessions to report on their progress for up to two years. Alternative to detention programs, including PADI, provide low-level offenders motivated by addiction, the rehabilitative services they need to prevent future criminal involvement and lead healthy and productive lives as an alternative to incarceration.

Philadelphia, Pa. - Nov. 5, 2013

The Supervision to Aid Re-entry (STAR) program was authorized by the Board of U.S. District Court Judges in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 2007. The program now has two reentry courts.  The STAR program offers federal inmates who have finished serving their sentences and are under supervised release the opportunity to participate in a yearlong program that includes job hunting, parenting classes and drug testing. If completed, their terms of supervised release can be reduced by up to one year.


Updated March 9, 2017