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Memo to U.S. Attorneys to Codify Sexual Violence Response Guidelines for Tribal Nations

In response to a report by the Office for Victims of Crime’s National Coordination Committee on the American Indian/Alaska Native SANE-SART Initiative, in July 2016 Attorney General Lynch issued a directive to United States Attorney’s Offices in each District with Indian Country jurisdiction to develop District-specific, written guidelines for sexual violence response. The directive required that all United States Attorneys with jurisdiction to prosecute crimes in Indian Country to meet with federal and tribal partners to develop written sexual violence guidelines that detail specific responsibilities of each federal partner. United States Attorneys were required to implement their guidelines by Fall 2016. Department of Justice agencies are currently in the process of reviewing each District’s sexual violence guidelines to ensure they clearly detail how federal agencies will respond to sexual violence crimes against adults and children.

Promising Practices in Tribal Community Policing

Tribal law enforcement strives to provide a high standard of service that is fair, effective, and culturally relevant. Community policing principles are at the heart of many of their activities, which often include personal interaction with tribal members. Yet they face great challenges, including lack of funding, staffing, and other resources, as well as jurisdictional issues. To help tribal law enforcement develop or improve community policing practices which can overcome these obstacles, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the COPS Office partnered to produce this publication. Promising Practices in Tribal Community Policing examines community policing in Indian country, looking at current practice and areas for future improvement. Taking into account the culture, governmental structures, and logistical and other challenges, the authors describe strategies for enhancing or creating programs focused on trust and collaboration with tribal members and government agencies. A valuable resource for tribal law enforcement, it is also a practical guide for all law enforcement and community stakeholders.

Enhanced Sentencing in Tribal Courts: Lessons Learned From Tribes

The Bureau of Justice Assistance, in partnership with the American Probation and Parole Association, the National Tribal Judicial Center, and the Tribal Judicial Institute, announces the release of “Enhanced Sentencing in Tribal Courts: Lessons Learned From Tribes.” This publication provides a brief overview, not a comprehensive review, of the changes under the Tribal Law & Order Act (TLOA) of 2010 (Public Law 111–211, H.R. 725, 124 Stat. 2258, enacted July 29, 2010) regarding enhanced sentencing authority, offers considerations for correctional/detention and community corrections programming related to enhanced sentences, and provides tribes with a checklist to help guide discussions around implementation of enhanced sentencing authority. Additionally, this publication explores the adoption of TLOA’s enhanced sentencing authority through interviews with several tribal court judges and personnel who have been intricately involved in establishing the provisions required to convey enhanced sentences. Finally, this publication provides information on financial resources to fund enhanced sentencing authority implementation.

Jails in Indian Country, 2013

This report presents findings from the 2013 Survey of Jails in Indian Country, an enumeration of 79 jails, confinement facilities, detention centers, and other correctional facilities operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  The report examines trends from 2000 to 2013 in the number of adults and juveniles held, type of offense, number of persons confined on the last weekday in June, peak population, average daily population, admissions in June, and expected average length of stay in jail at admission. It also provides data on rated capacity, facility crowding, and jail staffing in June 2013. In addition, it provides counts of inmate deaths and suicide attempts for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2013 and compares to counts in prior years.

Tribal Crime Data Collection Activities, 2014

This fourth annual report to Congress describes efforts to collect and improve data on crime and justice in Indian country, as required by the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. The report details the number of tribal law enforcement agencies reporting crime data to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program. It describes BJS's first National Survey of Tribal Court Systems which will collect data on tribal courts in the lower 48 states and Alaska covering 566 tribes. The survey will also cover the tribal Courts of Federal Regulations that handle some offenses and resolve disputes among tribal members. It also summarizes tribal eligibility for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant awards and the total funds awarded to tribes.

Statement of Principles for Working with Federally Recognized Indian Tribes, November 2013

BJS Report on Tribal Crime Data Collection Activities, October 2012 (PDF)

Department Eagle Feathers Policy (PDF)

On October 12, 2012, the Department of Justice announced a policy addressing the ability of members of federally recognized Indian tribes to possess or use eagle feathers, an issue of great cultural significance to many tribes and their members. Attorney General Eric Holder signed the new policy after extensive Department consultation with tribal leaders and tribal groups. The policy covers all federally protected birds, bird feathers and bird parts.

Fact Sheet | Consultations Summary (PDF)

Crime-Reduction Best Practices Handbook: Making Indian Communities Safe 2012 (PDF)

This publication is based on the Office of Justice Services' successful deployment of its 2010 High Priority Performance Goal initiative aimed at the reduction of violent crime by at least five percent over 24 months on four reservations experiencing high rates of violent crime: Rocky Boy's in Montana, Mescalero in New Mexico, Wind River in Wyoming, and Standing Rock in North and South Dakota. The effort resulted in a 35 percent decrease in violent crime across the four sites, achieved by implementing a comprehensive strategy involving community policing, tactical deployment and critical interagency and intergovernmental partnerships. The handbook is a compendium of best practices from that strategy intended to guide law enforcement entities in Indian Country. It includes strategies that worked and those that didn't, and the information it offers ranges from general approaches to details necessary to implement specific crime-reduction plans.

2011 National Intertribal Youth Summit Final Report (PDF)

The 2011 National Intertribal Youth Summit was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in partnership with the Executive Office of the President, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, and the Corporation for National & Community Service. It was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from July 24 - July 29, 2011. The Summit entitled “Youth Taking Action in Indian Country,” was attended by more than 160 youth, representing nearly 50 tribes who gathered together for a week of leadership development and skill building. This report highlights the youth and tribal participation, the programming and activities they participated in, and the issues that were tackled during the summit.

October 2011 Department of Justice Report on Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs in Indian Country (PDF)

Information on the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program

Find information about different claimant categories outlined in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which offers monetary compensation to individuals who contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases following their exposure to radiation released during above-ground atmospheric nuclear weapons tests or, following their occupational exposure to radiation while employed in the uranium industry during the build-up to the Cold War.

Violence Against Women in Indian Country Task Force

Find information about the Attorney General's task force established to assist the National Institute of Justice to develop and implement a program of research on violence against Indian women, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and murder. The task force will evaluate the effectiveness of the Federal, state, and tribal response to violence against Indian women, and will propose recommendations to improve the government response.

American Indian/Alaska Native Crime and Victim Publications from the National Criminal Justice Research Center

The National Criminal Justice Research Center is a federally-funded resource offering justice and substance abuse information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide. This list of publications and resources may be of particular interest to tribes.

Information on Civil Rights Protection for American Indians & Alaska Natives from the Civil Rights Division of The Department of Justice

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing Federal statutes that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and religion. This list of areas of the Civil Rights Division's enforcement programs may be of particular interest to American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) was established by the 1984 Victims of Crime Act to oversee diverse programs that benefit victims of crime. The Office for Victims of Crime provides direct services to people victimized on Tribal or Federal lands, such as military bases and national parks, and American citizens victimized in foreign countries.

OVC also assists victims of crime by providing: emergency funds for federal criminal justice agencies to provide victims of federal crimes with needed services when these services are otherwise unavailable, grants for victim assistance programs in Indian Country, and information, benefits, and services for U.S. nationals who are victims of terrorism abroad. Victims are given assistance in accessing services, traveling to participate in trials and briefings, and obtaining information on the criminal justice process.

Research on Tribal Crime and Justice from the National Institute of Justice

The National Institute of Justice is the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. This Web page provides an overview of research that has been made available that relates specifically to Tribal crime and justice.

Information on Tribal Law Enforcement from the Bureau of Justice Statistics

Tribally operated agencies provide a broad range of public safety services such as responding to calls for service, engaging in crime prevention activities, executing arrest warrants, performing traffic law enforcement, serving court papers, providing court security, and carrying out in search and rescue operations. Findings are based on the 2002 Census of Tribal Justice Agencies in American Indian Jurisdictions and the Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2000.

Strategies for Creating Offender Reentry Programs in Indian Country

This publication abstract highlights promising practices and strategies for adults and juveniles transitioning from incarceration back into tribal communities.

Deputy Attorney General Memo on Public Safety Reform in Indian Country

Former Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden's memo, dated on January 11, 2010, addresses U.S. Attorneys with districts containing Indian Country. The memo emphasizes the Justice Department's commitment to increasing public safety and upholding the rule of law on tribal land.

2008 Report of the National Roundtable on Sex Offender Registration and Notification in Indian Country (PDF)

This report, from the Southwest Center for Law and Policy, provides information about sex offender registration and notification in Indian Country, including ways for federal, state and tribal governments to improve coordination and increase safety on reservations.

2008 Final Report on Creative Civil Remedies Against Non-Indian Offenders In Indian Country (PDF)

This report, from the Southwest Center for Law and Policy, discusses jurisdictional issues between federal, state and tribal courts, and recommends how different courts can work cooperatively to keep Indian Country safe for Indians and Non-Indians alike.

Prosecutor Sexual Assault Protocol: Resource Guide for Drafting or Revising Tribal Prosecutor Protocols on Responding to Sexual Assault (PDF)

This report, from the Southwest Center for Law and Policy, is a resource for prosecutors in Indian Country on how to recognize, investigate and prosecute sexual assault cases on tribal land.

Resource Guide for Drafting or Revising Tribal Law Against Domestic Violence (PDF)

This paper, from the Tribal Law and and Policy Institute, addresses the high rates of domestic violence against tribal women and provides a starting point for drafting or revising tribal laws on domestic violence in Indian Country.

Final Report: Sexual Assault of Native Women- Focus Group on Public Law 280 (PDF)

This report chronicles a focus group hosted by the Office on Violence Against Women on the Oneida Indian Reservation in Wisconsin in 2007. The conference discussed challenges to, and opportunities for, collaboration between states and tribes in Public Law 280 jurisdictions to address sexual assault in Indian country.

Department Of Justice Plan To Develop A Tribal Consultation and Coordination Policy Implementing Executive Order 13175 (PDF)

This report outlines the Department's plan of actions for developing a consultation and coordination policy that not only implements Executive Order 13175, but identifies other ways in which the Department shall ensure ongoing and effective communication and coordination with tribes.

Tribal Nations Leadership Council Charter (PDF)

The TNLC will serve to facilitate dialog and coordinate efforts between the Department of Justice and tribal governments, furthering the government-to-government relationship between the United States and tribal nations.

Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation Quick Facts (PDF)

Updated April 18, 2023