Congress Slates $75M for Expanded School Violence Research

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Annapolis, Md. rally to prevent gun violence, March 2013. Photo by MarylandGovPic via Flickr

The new bill funding the federal government through September is slated to increase spending on school violence research. The Trump administration has asked Congress to eliminate the program starting Oct. 1.

Under a bill agreed on Wednesday by leaders from both houses, the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative will get $75 million this year, up from $50 million last year.

Last month, The Crime Report disclosed that two days before the Parkland, Fl., school shooting in which 17 people were killed, the White House asked Congress to halt a research program on school violence that began after the 2012  Newtown school massacre.

The administration said that the program had not been designed to run indefinitely and that relatively few results had been reported so far.

Congress is yet to examine the request for the next fiscal year, but in this year at least, the spending will increase.

Among other provisions of the measure, which is expected to be approved before a deadline of Friday night, according to the National Criminal Justice Association:

  • Aid to states and localities under the “Byrne JAG” program would rise slightly to $339.6 million from $334.6 million last year.
  • The “comprehensive opioid abuse program” would increase to $145 million from $13 million, and there is a new Opioid-Affected Youth Initiative, funded at $8 million.
  • Drug courts would get $75 million, up from $43 million, and veterans treatment courts would be provided $20 million, an increase from $7 million.
  • State anti-heroin task forces will get $32 million, up from $10 million.
  • Aid to prisoner reentry projects under the Second Chance Act would increase from $46 million to $63 million.
  • Funds for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to help states reduce prison populations would remain steady at about $25 million.
  • Grants to help examine backlogs in DNA evidence testing will go up to $130 million from $125 million.

Ted Gest is president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington bureau chief of The Crime Report.

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