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Press Release

Department of Justice FY 2016 Budget Request

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
President’s Request Invests in Department of Justice Criminal Justice Priorities, Including Countering Violent Extremism, Civil Rights, Smart on Crime, Among Other Priority Initiatives

President Obama’s FY 2016 budget proposal totals $28.7 billion for the Department of Justice to support federal law enforcement priorities and the criminal justice priorities of our state, local and tribal law enforcement partners.  The request represents a comprehensive investment in the Justice Department’s mission and includes increases in funding for countering violent extremism and other national security areas, civil rights and advancing equality under the law, Smart on Crime activities, including increased funds for prisoner reentry initiatives, and other key enforcement initiatives.  The request represents a $1.3 billion increase over the comparable FY 2015 enacted level.

“The Department of Justice is dedicated to advancing the safety, the security, and the rights of all Americans – and the vital investments detailed in the department’s FY 2016 budget reflect that commitment,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “From our global efforts to safeguard the American people against terrorist attacks and prevent violent extremism, to the work we are doing through the Smart on Crime initiative to make our criminal justice system more fair and more effective, to our ongoing focus on building trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, we are working every day to protect the American people and extend this nation’s promise of equal justice under law.  And as we move forward – with the resources outlined in this budget proposal – the Department of Justice will build on its groundbreaking work to strengthen our communities, to preserve our cherished values, and to build the safer, more just society that all Americans deserve.”

The Department of Justice’s areas of investment include:

  • +$65 million for the department’s law enforcement components, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program.
  • +$125 million for our litigating components, including the U.S. Attorneys, National Security Division, Criminal Division, Civil Rights Division, Civil Division, and the Environment and Natural Resources Division.
  • +$217 million for the prisons and detention functions of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  • +$146 million for immigration and administration, technology, and other support functions, including the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Office of the Pardon Attorney, Office of the Inspector General, Community Relations Service, General Administration, and Justice Information Sharing Technology.
  • +$154 million for DOJ grant programs overall (Office of Justice Programs, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and Office on Violence Against Women), for a total grant program request of $2.4 billion.

National Security

Defending U.S. citizens from both internal and external threats remains the department’s highest priority.  National security threats are constantly evolving, requiring additional investments to adapt to those threats in innovative ways.  The FY 2016 budget request provides $106.8 million in program increases to develop the department’s capacity in a number of critical national security areas including: countering violent extremism and domestic radicalization; counterterrorism; cybersecurity both domestic and abroad; information sharing and collaboration with the intelligence community; and training and technical assistance for our foreign partners. 

The FY 2016 request supports a comprehensive national security strategy that includes countering violent extremism (CVE) and cybersecurity.  Through grants provided by the Office of Justice Programs and the Community Oriented Policing Services, the department will foster community-led CVE efforts and emphasize trusted partnerships between public safety agencies and local residents and community organizations.  Funding is also requested to build upon recent cyber investments that address computer intrusions and defend the security of the department’s critical information networks from cyber threats. 

To maintain its role as a national security leader, the department must continue to improve its coordination with both domestic and foreign partners through training and technical assistance.  The FY 2016 request includes resources for both the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration to enhance collaboration with the intelligence community through improved IT infrastructure and counterintelligence programs.  In addition, the FY 2016 request includes resources for improving the process of sharing evidence with our foreign partners, coordinated investigations, and operating overseas security sector assistance programs. The department’s foreign experts are best situated to build the strong overseas partnerships that are essential to joint efforts to fight terrorism and transnational crime.

For more information, view the National Security Fact Sheet at

Civil Rights

The department’s mission is to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly the most vulnerable members of our society—thus extending equality under the law to all Americans.  Accomplishing this requires resources both to investigate and to litigate.

Protecting the nation’s most vulnerable populations is a top priority of this Administration and the department. These issues remain a highly relevant to the American people and a significant focus of both the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service.  The FY 2016 request includes $102.8 million in new investments addressing ongoing and growing threats of human trafficking, hate crimes, and campus sexual assaults.  The request includes funds to expand civil and criminal enforcement efforts to ensure that all communities have effective and democratically accountable policing.

Our request supports the health of our democracy by augmenting our Voting Rights Act enforcement to protect each citizen’s fundamental right to vote.  Further, our request creates a sustainable and lasting legacy of civil rights enforcement in U.S. Attorneys Offices and the coordination of our efforts with state and local partners across the nation.

Increases for grant programs will provide technical assistance and training to improve the public’s access to counsel and legal assistance in state, local, and tribal courts and juvenile justice systems.  The resources will also help to implement the recommendations of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and assist law enforcement agencies on criminal justice issues, including use of force practices and the deployment of crisis intervention teams.

For more information, view Civil Rights Fact Sheet at

Smart on Crime

In total, our budget invests an additional $247 million to support Smart on Crime initiatives. 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 fairly and—in an era of reduced budgets—efficiently.  As part of its review, the department studied all phases of the criminal justice system, including charging, sentencing, incarceration, and reentry, to identify the practices that are successful at deterring crime and protecting the public.

We must remain vigilant in our efforts to stop violent crime.  However, for far too long, well-intentioned policies created to lower criminal activity perpetuated a cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration that broke too many families and weakened too many communities. The Smart on Crime initiative focuses on effectively using federal resources for the most important law enforcement priorities, addressing the disparate impact of the criminal justice system on vulnerable communities, and implementing a series of commonsense reforms to create a fundamental shift in response to certain crimes—particularly low-level, nonviolent offenses.  The new guidance also bolstered prevention and reentry programs to deter crime, reduce recidivism, and create pathways of opportunity for eligible candidates.

The Attorney General’s plan focuses federal resources and places the harshest sentences on the most violent offenders rather than prioritizing the sheer number of prosecutions.  Considering alternatives to incarceration for low-level, non-violent offenses also strengthens our justice system and places a lower financial burden on the budget.  This means increased use of diversion programs, such as drug courts, that reduce taxpayer expense and have the potential to be successful at preventing recidivism.  Even when imprisonment is appropriate, sentencing should reflect the individualized circumstances of the case.

We must also pay attention to what happens to inmates after prison.  To better prevent recidivism, it is important to reduce barriers to reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals.  This includes emphasizing reentry programs, and revisiting rules and regulations that make it harder for these individuals to find a job, an education, or affordable housing. 

For more information, view the Smart on Crime Fact Sheet at

Prisons and Detention

Maintaining safe and secure detention and prison facilities, while investing in ways to reduce recidivism, is critical to the department’s ongoing efforts to reform the criminal justice system and be Smart on Crime.  To continue this commitment, the department requests $217 million in program increases for prisons and detention.

The Administration is committed to a comprehensive strategy to contain incarceration costs over the long term by facilitating inmates’ transition into society in order to reduce recidivism rates, increase public safety, and strengthen communities.  The budget reflects these commitments and takes steps to address the cycle of incarceration by investing additional resources in the BOP re-entry programs for the approximately 45,000 federal inmates that return to our communities each year.  

The request increases staffing at BOP’s 17 high security institutions.  The request would provide funding to have two correctional officers on duty in each housing unit for all three shifts, increasing officer and inmate safety at high security institutions.  The request also funds additional medical beds at Federal Correctional Institution Fort Worth that will house and treat severely ill inmates currently housed in community hospitals.  Finally, the request also increases funding for BOP to undertake essential rehabilitation, modernization, and renovation of BOP institutions, one third of which are 50 years old or older.  Adequately maintaining structures preserves capital investments and ensures sufficient security within institutions.

For more information, view the Prisons and Detention Fact Sheet at


The department plays an integral role in the immigration system by ensuring the fair, expeditious, and uniform application of the Nation’s immigration laws. The department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) oversees the immigration court and Board of Immigrant Appeals.  In recent years, in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) increased enforcement efforts along the borders, EOIR has sought to keep pace with the rising number of immigration cases, in order to maintain the effectiveness and efficiency of immigration enforcement, adjudication and detention programs.  But EOIR’s immigration court caseload continues to increase to record levels.

To process this increasing workload and improve the efficiency of the immigration court system, the Department requests an increase of $124 million to support additional Immigration Judge (IJ) Teams and Board of Immigration Appeals attorneys and provide for other improvements to the immigration system.  This enhancement will help IJ Teams and attorneys adjudicate rising immigration caseloads resulting from the increase in Southwest Border crossings.  Also included in this program increase are funds to expand legal representation for unaccompanied children and to improve efficiencies in immigration court proceedings by expanding the Legal Orientation Program.

For more information, view the Immigration Fact Sheet at

Enforcement Priorities

The department’s mission and responsibility is to investigate and punish those who break federal laws and harm innocent citizens.  Continued investments to uphold its commitments and obligations are needed to strengthen the department’s ability to protect the health and well-being of our nation’s citizens, and have the flexibility to address threats as they emerge; simply maintaining existing law enforcement capacity is not sufficient.  For FY 2016, the department requests $43 million in additional investments to address violent crime and illicit drugs, along with health care fraud and environmental crime. 

For more information, view the Enforcement Fact Sheet at

State, Local and Tribal Law Enforcement

The department strongly supports its partnerships with state, local, and tribal entities. 
The FY 2016 budget maintains its commitments to state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners without reducing the department’s federal operational role.  Simultaneously, efficiencies are identified to ensure that federal resources are being targeted to the most effective grant programs. 

The FY 2016 discretionary and mandatory request for state, local, and tribal law enforcement assistance is $3.5 billion.  The request for state, local, and tribal assistance includes $15 million for implementation of the Administration’s Countering Violent Extremism Initiative, discussed under National Security above.  The budget also targets $97 million for the President’s new Community Policing Initiative to build and sustain trust between law enforcement and the people they serve.  Both the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and Office of Justice Programs (OJP) budgets include enhancements to support these two initiatives.

The request also includes $249.5 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program and a $14 million increase to the Office on Violence Against Women Campus Violence Program.

For more information, view the State, Local and Tribal Law Enforcement Fact Sheet at

Public Safety in Indian Country

The United States has a unique legal and political relationship with American Indian tribes and Alaska Native communities as provided by the Constitution, treaties, court decisions and federal statutes.  The Department of Justice has an important legal and moral responsibility to prosecute violent crime in Indian Country because under current law, in much of Indian Country, the department alone has the authority to seek an appropriate sentence when a major crime has been committed.  Federal investigation and prosecution of serious violent crime in Indian Country is often both the first and only avenue of protection for the victims of these crimes.

The FY 2016 President’s budget requests $417 million in total resources for public safety initiatives in Indian Country.  Investments include significant and versatile grant funding for addressing a range of criminal justice issues, among which is a $5 million request for a new Tribal Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction program authorized by Congress in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.  This program would provide grants to tribal governments and their designees to support tribal efforts to exercise special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian offenders who commit violence against Indian spouses, intimate partners or dating partners, or who violate protection orders, in Indian Country.   

For more information, view the Public Safety in Indian Country Fact Sheet at


In order to maintain an effective and efficient Department of Justice, the department must invest in its physical and non-physical infrastructure to support its investigative and prosecutorial enterprises.  The department’s request addresses gaps in critical infrastructure including information technology systems, facility construction and maintenance, litigation support services, operational oversight and other investments.

The investments requested for FY 2016 build on many DOJ investments already made and will allow the department to make significant strides in several areas.  With these investments, the department will be able to make forward progress in consolidating its data centers, reduce the significant backlog for U.S. Marshals Service construction projects in federal courthouses, direct and oversee administration and operation of the department activities, and provide data transparency to the public. 

For more information, view the Infrastructure Fact Sheet at

Updated August 9, 2021

Voting and Elections
Press Release Number: 15-121