Criminal justice officials in states and cities shouldn’t expect an infusion of federal anticrime aid in the war-funding bill on the verge of congressional approval. Last December, Congress unexpectedly cut the Byrne/JAG program, the primary federal anticrime funding program for states, regions, and localities, from its previous annual level of $520 million to only $170.4 million for the federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
Advocates have been trying to restore the funding via a special appropriations bill primarily to fund U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the anticrime funding was not in the version approved yesterday by the House and supported by President Bush. This may mean ending or curtailing, at least for now, of regional antidrug task forces and other programs supported by Byrne/JAG. A Senate appropriations subcommittee is supporting a restoration of Byrne/JAG to $580 million for the year beginning Oct. 1.