Federal aid to state and local governments for anticrime programs will be cut sharply in the current fiscal year under an appropriations bill nearing approval in Congress. The National Criminal Justice Association, which represents states and localities, projects a 36 percent funding reduction for states under the new federal Justice Assistance Grant program, which consolidates several aid categories. The spending figures were voted in recent days by a conference committee with authority over Justice Department spending.
Funding will be stable on some major programs administered by the Community Oriented Policing Services office (COPS), including initiatives on DNA, “meth hot spots,”and one program for law enforcement technology and interoperable communications. COPS aid to localities for police hiring, and a parallel Police Corps program, would be eliminated under the new budget. Among other programs taking big hits are drug courts, down from $40 million to $10 million, and state prison drug treatment, down from $25 million to $10 million. The Boys and Girls Clubs would continue to get a $85 annual federal earmark. The White House sought $74 million for Project Safe Neighborhoods, a local anticrime program focusing on gun crimes, but the appropriators cut the budget to $15 million.