‘Future Cloudy’ on U.S. Spending for Anticrime Research


Will Congress continue to fund much anticrime research in the current budget climate? “The future is very cloudy,” Michael Crowley, who until recently worked on Justice Department spending issues for the White House Office of Management and Budget, told the American Society of Criminology yesterday.

Crowley took part in a panel assessing the budget scene. The decline in the crime rate over the last decade plays a big part in holding down budget outlays, he said.

In contrast, Congress views the U.S. education system as being in crisis and is much more willing to spend money on schools, in Crowley’s view.

Laurie Robinson of George Mason University, former assistant attorney general for justice programs, said that any move by Congress to end the “sequestration” that is forcing across-the-board budget cuts in federal agencies could be “bad news” at the Justice Department if it leads to internal wars for funds between big spenders like the FBI and the Bureau of Prisons–strife that could minimize anticrime aid to states and research money.

Howard Silver of the Consortium of Social Science Associations agreed that the social sciences could suffer as Congress looks for new places to save.

Adam Gelb of the Pew Public Safety Performance Project was more optimistic, citing votes by appropriations committees in both Houses to raise federal support for the “justice reinvestment” program operating in many states.

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