Crime Policy

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Risk and Needs Assessment in the Federal Prison System

The number of people incarcerated in federal prisons increased dramatically over the past three decades. While the number of inmates in the federal prison system has decreased since FY2013, the federal prison population remains substantially larger than it was three decades ago.

Concerns about both the economic and social consequences of the country’s reliance on incarceration have led to calls for reforms to the nation’s criminal justice system, including improving the federal prison system’s ability to rehabilitate incarcerated offenders by better assessing their risk for recidivism and...

School Resource Officers: Issues for Congress

The school shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, Great Mills High School in Great Mills, MD, and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, TX, have generated renewed interest in what Congress might consider to enhance security at the nation’s schools. School resource officer (SRO) programs have been discussed as a possible strategy for increasing school safety. SROs are sworn law enforcement officers who are assigned to work at a school on a long-term basis. While there are no current figures on the number of SROs in the United States, data indicate that 42% of U.S....

Recent Violent Crime Trends in the United States

Media accounts of increasing violent crime rates, especially homicides, in some cities raise broad concerns about decreasing levels of public safety.

This report provides an analysis of changes in violent crime since 1960, with a focus on changes from 2014 to 2016 in violent crime and homicide rates in the 48 largest cities in the United States for which violent crime and homicide data were submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The results of the analysis suggest the following:

At the national level, violent crime and homicide rates increased...

Overview of FY2019 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

This report describes actions taken by the Trump Administration and Congress to provide FY2019 funding for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of enacted FY2018 funding for agencies and bureaus funded as part of annual CJS appropriations acts.

For FY2018, Congress and the President provided a total of $72.119 billion in funding for CJS. This included $70.921 billion in regular funding provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141) and $1.198 billion in emergency-designated funding provided in the Further...

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

In the midst of national concern over the opioid epidemic, federal and state officials are paying greater attention to the manner in which opioids are prescribed. Nearly all prescription drugs involved in overdoses are originally prescribed by a physician (rather than, for example, being stolen from pharmacies). Thus, attention has been directed toward better understanding how opioids are being prescribed and preventing the diversion of prescription drugs after the prescriptions are dispensed.

Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) maintain statewide electronic databases of...

FY2018 Appropriations for Department of Justice Grant Programs

Each year, Congress and the Administration provide funding for a variety of grant programs through the Department of Justice (DOJ). These programs are used to fund state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations for a variety of criminal justice-related purposes, such as efforts to combat violence against women, reduce backlogs of DNA evidence, support community policing, assist crime victims, promote prisoner reentry, and improve the functioning of the juvenile justice system. These programs are funded through five accounts in the annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and...

FY2018 Appropriations for the Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) was established in 1870 with the Attorney General as its leader. Since its creation, DOJ has added additional agencies, offices, boards, and divisions to its organizational structure. DOJ, along with the judicial branch, operates the federal criminal justice system. The department enforces federal criminal and civil laws, including antitrust, civil rights, environmental, and tax laws. Through agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives...

Federal Disaster Assistance After Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Gustav, and Ike

This report provides information on federal financial assistance provided to the Gulf States after major disasters were declared in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas in response to the widespread destruction that resulted from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.

Though the storms happened over a decade ago, Congress has remained interested in the types and amounts of federal assistance that were provided to the Gulf Coast for several reasons. This includes how the money has been spent, what resources have been provided to...

Overview of FY2018 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

This report describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2018 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2017 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as part of annual CJS appropriations.

Division B of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L. 115-31) provided a total of $66.360 billion (which includes $109 million in emergency-designated funding) for CJS. Under the act, the Department of Commerce received $9.237 billion, the Department of Justice received $28.962 billion,...

Federal Support for Drug Courts: In Brief

The United States has gradually shifted its formal drug policy from a punishment-focused model toward a more comprehensive approach—one that focuses on prevention, treatment, and enforcement. The proliferation of drug courts in American criminal justice fits this more comprehensive model. These specialized court programs are designed to divert certain defendants and offenders away from traditional criminal justice sanctions such as incarceration while reducing overall costs and helping these defendants and offenders with substance abuse issues.

Drug courts present an alternative to the...

Guns, Excise Taxes, Wildlife Restoration, and the National Firearms Act

Federal taxes on firearms and ammunition are collected through different methods and used for different purposes, depending on the nature of the firearms. Some tax receipts are used for wildlife restoration and for hunter education and safety, for example, whereas others are deposited into the General Fund of the U.S. Treasury. The assessment of these taxes and the uses of generated revenues are routinely of interest to many in Congress.

In general, taxes on the manufacture of firearms (including pistols and revolvers as well as rifles and other long guns) and ammunition are collected as...

Appropriations for the Bureau of Prisons (BOP): In Brief

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is the largest correctional agency in the country in terms of the number of prisoners under its jurisdiction. BOP must confine any offender convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment in a federal court.

Changes in federal criminal justice policy since the early 1980s spurred growth in the federal prison population. The total number of inmates under BOP’s jurisdiction increased from approximately 25,000 in FY1980 to over 192,000 in FY2016. While the federal prison population in FY2016 is nearly 7 times larger than what it was in FY1980, the number of...

DNA Testing in Criminal Justice: Background, Current Law, and Grants

Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the fundamental building block for an individual’s entire genetic makeup. DNA is a powerful tool for law enforcement investigations because each person’s DNA is different from that of every other individual (except for identical twins). DNA can be extracted from a number of sources, such as hair, bone, teeth, saliva, and blood. As early as the 1980s, states began enacting laws that required the collection of DNA samples from offenders convicted of certain sexual and other violent crimes. The samples are analyzed and their profiles entered into state...

Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program: In Brief

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program provides three different types of benefits to public safety officers and their survivors: death, disability, and education benefits. The PSOB program is administered by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) PSOB Office.

The PSOB death benefit is a mandatory program, and the disability and education benefits are discretionary programs. As such, Congress appropriates “such sums as are necessary” each fiscal year to fund the PSOB death benefit program while appropriating separate amounts for both the disability...

Funding Gaps and Government Shutdowns: CRS Experts

Contacting CRS Subject Matter Experts

In the event of a funding gap, the potential impacts of a government shutdown would depend on a program’s or agency’s specific circumstances and, furthermore, how relevant law is interpreted. Table 1 provides names and contact information for CRS subject matter experts on policy concerns and legal issues relating to funding gaps and the processes and effects that may be associated with a government shutdown. Policy areas that are identified in Table 1 include

agencies and programs funded by specific regular appropriations bills;

cross-cutting shutdown...

The Opioid Epidemic and Federal Efforts to Address It: Frequently Asked Questions

Over the last several years, there has been growing concern among the public and lawmakers in the United States about rising drug overdose deaths, which more than tripled from 1999 to 2014. In 2015, more than 52,000 people died from drug overdoses, and approximately 63% of those deaths involved an opioid.

Many federal agencies are involved in efforts to combat opioid abuse. The primary federal agency involved in drug enforcement, including diversion control efforts for prescription opioids, is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The primary agency supporting drug treatment and...

DHS Appropriations FY2017: Departmental Management and Operations

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2017. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the first title of the homeland security appropriations bill—the Office of the Secretary and Executive Management, the Office of the Under Secretary for Management, the DHS headquarters consolidation project, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Analysis and Operations, and the Office of Inspector General for the department....

Domestic Terrorism: An Overview

The emphasis of counterterrorism policy in the United States since Al Qaeda’s attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11) has been on jihadist terrorism. However, in the last decade, domestic terrorists—people who commit crimes within the homeland and draw inspiration from U.S.-based extremist ideologies and movements—have killed American citizens and damaged property across the country. Not all of these criminals have been prosecuted under federal terrorism statutes, which does not imply that domestic terrorists are taken any less seriously than other terrorists.

The Department of Justice (DOJ)...

Gun Control: FY2017 Appropriations for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Other Initiatives

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is the lead federal agency charged with administering and enforcing federal laws related to firearms and explosives commerce. ATF is also responsible for investigating arson cases with a federal nexus, and criminal cases involving the diversion of alcohol and tobacco from legal channels of commerce. As an agency within the Department of Justice (DOJ), ATF is funded through an annual appropriation in the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act. For FY2017, Congress has...

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): In Brief

The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in jurisdictions across the United States. The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-162) reauthorized the COPS program for FY2006-FY2009 and changed it from a multi-grant program to a single-grant program. Even though the COPS grant program is not currently authorized, Congress has continued to appropriate funding for...

The Crime Victims Fund: Federal Support for Victims of Crime

In 1984, the Crime Victims Fund (CVF, or the Fund) was established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA, P.L. 98-473) to provide funding for state victim compensation and assistance programs. Since 1984, VOCA has been amended several times to support additional victim-related activities. These amendments established within the CVF (1) discretionary grants for private organizations, (2) the Federal Victim Notification System, (3) funding for victim assistance staff within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, (4) funding for the Children’s Justice Act...

FY2017 Appropriations for the Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) was established in 1870 with the Attorney General as its leader. Since its creation, DOJ has grown to add additional agencies, components, offices, boards, and divisions. DOJ, along with the judicial branch, operates the federal criminal justice system. Today, the department enforces federal criminal and civil laws, including antitrust, civil rights, environmental, and tax laws. DOJ, through agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives...

FY2017 Appropriations for the Department of Justice Grant Programs

Each year Congress provides funding for a variety of grant programs through the Department of Justice (DOJ). These programs are used to fund state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations for a variety of criminal justice-related purposes, such as efforts to combat violence against women, reduce backlogs of DNA evidence, support community policing, assist crime victims, promote prisoner reentry, and improve the functioning of the juvenile justice system. Congress funds these programs through five accounts in the annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies...

Overview of FY2017 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

This report describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2017 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2016 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as part of annual CJS appropriations.

Division B of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-113), provided $66.000 billion for CJS, which included $9.246 billion for the Department of Commerce, $29.090 billion for the Department of Justice (DOJ), $26.754 billion for the science agencies, and $910 million for the related...

Selected Homeland Security Issues in the 115th Congress

In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, “homeland security” went from being a concept discussed among a relatively small cadre of policymakers and strategic thinkers to a broadly discussed issue among policymakers, including those in Congress. Debates over how to implement coordinated homeland security policy led to the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has continued under the leadership of different Administrations,...

Gun Control: Federal Law and Legislative Action in the 114th Congress

In the 114th Congress, the Senate debated several gun proposals following two high-fatality mass shootings in December 2015 and June 2016. After both shootings, Senate debate coalesced around the following issues:

Should the Attorney General be given the authority to deny firearms (and explosives) transfers to persons she determines to be “dangerous terrorists”?

Should federal background check requirements be expanded to include intrastate firearms transfers among private, unlicensed persons?

Should grants be provided or withheld to encourage state, local, municipal, tribal, and...

Gun Control, Mental Incompetency, and Social Security Administration Final Rule

On February 2, 2017, the House of Representatives passed a Congressional Review Act disapproval resolution (H.J.Res. 40) to overturn a final rule promulgated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) regarding implementation of firearms restrictions for certain persons. On February 16, 2017, the Senate passed H.J.Res. 40 without any amendments. On February 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed this resolution into law (P.L. 115-8). This enacted joint resolution vacates the SSA final rule. It also bars the SSA from promulgating any future rule that would be “substantially the same” as...

Gun Control, Veterans Benefits, and Mental Incompetency Determinations

On March 16, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act (H.R. 1181) by a roll call vote (240-175). Under H.R. 1181, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) would be prohibited from determining any beneficiary for whom a fiduciary is appointed, because he or she “lacks the capacity to contract or handle his or her own affairs,” as “adjudicated as a mental defective” for the purposes of gun control, unless a magistrate or judicial authority also rules that the beneficiary is a danger to himself or herself or others.

Pursuant to the Brady Handgun...

The Marijuana Policy Gap and the Path Forward

Under federal law, the cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana are illegal, except for the purposes of sanctioned research. States, however, have established a range of laws and policies regarding marijuana’s medical and recreational use. Most states have deviated from an across-the-board prohibition of marijuana, and it is now more so the rule than the exception that states have laws and policies allowing for some cultivation, sale, distribution, and possession of marijuana—all of which are contrary to the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). As of March 2017, nearly...

Overview of Further Continuing Appropriations for FY2017 (H.R. 2028)

This report is an analysis of the provisions in H.R. 2028, which provides further continuing appropriations for FY2017 through April 28, 2017. The measure also included appropriations for the remainder of the fiscal year for Overseas Contingency Operations in the Security Assistance Appropriations Act (Division B). On December 10, 2016, the President signed H.R. 2028 into law (P.L. 114-254).

Division A of H.R. 2028 was termed a “continuing resolution” (CR) because it provided temporary authority for federal agencies and programs to continue spending in FY2017 in the same manner as a...

The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Reform Act of 2016 (Division B of P.L. 114-255)

This report summarizes the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Reform Act of 2016, enacted on December 13, 2016, as Division B of the 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255). Division B comprises Title VI through Title XIV. The first five titles in Division B (Title VI – Title X) deal primarily with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). SAMHSA is the federal agency with primary responsibility for increasing access to community-based services to prevent and treat mental disorders and substance use...

The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government developed a unified regimen to identify and list known or suspected terrorists. The regimen has received repeated congressional attention, and this report briefly discusses for congressional policymakers how the U.S. government fashions and uses the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) to achieve such an end. It also discusses how the federal government engages in two travel-related screening processes—visa screening and air passenger screening. Both processes involve subsets of the Terrorist Screening Database.

The...

Homelessness: Targeted Federal Programs

The causes of homelessness and determining how best to assist those who find themselves homeless became particularly prominent, visible issues in the 1980s. The concept of homelessness may seem straightforward, with individuals and families who have no place to live falling within the definition. However, the extent of homelessness in this country and how best to address it depend upon how one defines the condition of being homeless.

There is no single federal definition of homelessness, although a number of programs, including those overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban...

Overview of Continuing Appropriations for FY2017 (H.R. 5325)

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the continuing appropriations provisions for FY2017 in H.R. 5325. The measure also included provisions covering appropriations in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill for all of FY2017 (Division A), as well as emergency funds to combat the Zika virus and provide relief for flood victims in Louisiana and other affected states (Division B). On September 29, 2016, the President signed H.R. 5325 into law (P.L. 114-223).

Division C of H.R. 5325 was termed a “continuing resolution” (CR) because measures to...

Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

Countries in Latin America serve as source, transit, and destination countries for trafficking in persons (TIP). Victims are exploited within their own countries and trafficked to other countries in the region. Latin America is also a primary source region for people trafficked to the United States, including by transnational organized crime groups. In FY2015, Mexico was the primary country of origin for foreign trafficking victims certified as eligible to receive U.S. assistance. Recent victims identified in the United States also have originated in Brazil and Central America. Smaller...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 114th Congress

The House and the Senate have considered immigration measures on a variety of issues in the 114th Congress. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-113) extends four immigration programs through September 30, 2016: the EB-5 immigrant investor Regional Center Pilot Program, the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system, the Conrad State program for foreign medical graduates, and the special immigrant religious worker program. P.L. 114-113 also contains provisions on the Visa Waiver Program and certain nonimmigrant visa categories.

Other enacted immigration-related...

DOD Security Cooperation: An Overview of Authorities and Issues

Over the past decade, Congress has authorized the Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct a wide range of security cooperation programs. As the scope, pace, and cost of activities to train, equip, and otherwise support foreign security forces have increased, however, some policymakers believe that the DOD’s growing authority may undermine the State Department’s lead role in foreign assistance. To others, DOD’s expanded role is a necessary response to the perceived inadequacies of the existing legal regime through which Congress has authorized the State Department and DOD to provide security...

Federal Assistance for Victims of Terrorism or Mass Violence: In Brief

Following incidents of terrorism or mass violence in the United States, jurisdictions and individuals may be eligible to receive various types of victim assistance both directly from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and indirectly from DOJ through their respective state victim assistance agencies or other programs. While circumstances in some incidents may result in a jurisdiction’s eligibility for assistance from other federal departments, such as Department of Education grants awarded to Newtown Public School District in recovery efforts from the Newtown, CT, elementary school shooting,...

Public Trust and Law Enforcement—A Brief Discussion for Policymakers

Events over the past several years involving conflict between the police and citizens have generated interest in what role Congress could play in facilitating efforts to build trust between law enforcement and the people they serve while promoting effective crime reduction. This report provides a brief overview of the federal government’s role in police-community relations.

Despite what appears to be an apparent decreasing amount of trust between law enforcement and the public, Gallup poll data show that, overall, Americans are confident in the police; but, confidence in the police varies...

The Orlando Mass Shooting: CRS Experts

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The Terrorist Screening Database: Background Information

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, the Bureau) has acknowledged that it had been investigating the shooter who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub on June 12, 2016. The gunman has been identified as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard in Florida who was born in New York. Reportedly, Mateen was watchlisted while under FBI investigation. This report provides background information on the watchlisting process.

The Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB, commonly referred to as the Terrorist Watchlist) lies at the heart of federal efforts to identify and share information about...

The Islamic State’s Acolytes and the Challenges They Pose to U.S. Law Enforcement

Analysis of publicly available information on homegrown violent jihadist activity in the United States since September 11, 2001, suggests that the Islamic State (IS) and its acolytes may pose broad challenges to domestic law enforcement and homeland security efforts. Homegrown IS-inspired plots can be broken into three rough categories based on the goals of the individuals involved. The first two focus on foreign fighters, the last on people willing to do harm in the United States:

The Departed—Americans, often described as foreign fighters, who plan to leave or have left the United...

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (S. 524): Comparison of Senate- and House-Passed Versions

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA; S. 524) aims to address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States. It passed the Senate (S. 524 ES) on March 10, 2016, and it passed the House with an amendment in the nature of a substitute (S. 524 EAH) on May 13, 2016. The two versions of the bill differ substantially. The scope of the differences may be illustrated by their structures: The Senate bill has 28 sections organized in 8 titles, whereas the House bill has 69 sections organized in 18 titles. This report discusses selected differences and similarities...

The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Options for Congress

Since the early 1980s, there has been a historically unprecedented increase in the federal prison population. The total number of inmates under the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) jurisdiction increased from approximately 25,000 in FY1980 to over 205,000 in FY2015. Between FY1980 and FY2013, the federal prison population increased, on average, by approximately 5,900 inmates annually. However, the number of inmates in the federal prison system has decreased from FY2013 to FY2015.

Some of the growth is attributable to changes in federal criminal justice policy during the previous three decades....

Federal Prison Industries: Background, Debate, Legislative History, and Policy Options

The Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (FPI), is a government-owned corporation that employs offenders incarcerated in correctional facilities under the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The FPI manufactures products and provides services that are sold to executive agencies in the federal government. The FPI was created to serve as a means for managing, training, and rehabilitating inmates in the federal prison system through employment in one of its industries.

The FPI is intended to be economically self-sustaining and it does not receive funding through congressional appropriations. In...

Synthetic Drugs: Overview and Issues for Congress

Synthetic drugs, as opposed to natural drugs, are chemically produced in a laboratory. Their chemical structure can be either identical to or different from naturally occurring drugs, and their effects are designed to mimic or even enhance those of natural drugs. When produced clandestinely, they are not typically controlled pharmaceutical substances intended for legitimate medical use. Designer drugs are a form of synthetic drugs. They contain slightly modified molecular structures of illegal or controlled substances, and they are modified in order to circumvent existing drug laws. While...

The Islamic State’s Acolytes and the Challenges They Pose to U.S. Law Enforcement

Analysis of publicly available information on homegrown violent jihadist activity in the United States since September 11, 2001, suggests that the Islamic State (IS) and its acolytes may pose broad challenges to domestic law enforcement and homeland security efforts. Homegrown IS-inspired plots can be broken into three rough categories based on the goals of the individuals involved. The first two focus on foreign fighters, the last on people willing to do harm in the United States:

The Departed—Americans, often described as foreign fighters, who plan to leave or have left the United...

Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry

Border enforcement is a core element of the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to control unauthorized migration, with the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as the lead agency along most of the border. Border enforcement has been an ongoing subject of congressional interest since the 1970s, when unauthorized immigration to the United States first registered as a serious national problem; and border security has received additional attention in the years since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Since the 1990s, migration control at the border...

Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism

The number of people incarcerated in the United States grew steadily for nearly 30 years. That number has been slowly decreasing since 2008, but as of 2014 there were still over 2 million people incarcerated in prisons and jails across the country. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that between 1990 and 2014 an average of 594,600 inmates have been released annually from state and federal prisons and almost 5 million ex-offenders are under some form of community-based supervision.

Nearly all prisoners will return to their communities as some point. Offender reentry can include...

DHS Appropriations FY2016: Departmental Management and Operations

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the first title of the homeland security appropriations bill—the Office of the Secretary and Executive Management, the Office of the Under Secretary for Management, the DHS headquarters consolidation project, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Analysis and Operations, and the Office of Inspector General for the department....

Prescription Drug Abuse

An estimated 6.5 million individuals currently abuse prescription drugs in the United States. Unlike policy on street drugs, federal policy on prescription drug abuse is complicated by the need to maintain access to prescription controlled substances (PCS) for legitimate medical use. The federal government has several roles in reducing prescription drug abuse.

Coordination. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) coordinates and tracks prescription drug abuse reduction efforts and funding of multiple federal agencies.

Regulation. The primary federal statutes governing...

FY2016 Appropriations for the Department of Justice (DOJ)

The mission of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is to “enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.” DOJ carries out its mission through the activities of agencies and bureaus such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Marshals Service; the...

Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program: Fact Sheet

Mental health courts are intended to help address the large number of people in the criminal justice systems with mental illness. The federal government provides funding to support mental health courts across the country through the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration program. The purpose of the program is to increase public safety by facilitating collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health treatment, and substance abuse systems to increase access to treatment for offenders with mental illness. Authorized funding for this program expired at the end of FY2014.

Overview of FY2016 Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS)

This report tracks and describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2016 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2015 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as part of the annual appropriation for CJS.

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (P.L. 113-235) provided a total of $61.753 billion for the agencies and bureaus funded by the annual CJS appropriations act, including $8.467 billion for the Department of Commerce, $27.030 billion for the...

Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief

Firearms are one of the leading causes of deaths for law enforcement officers feloniously killed in the line of duty. Since FY1999, Congress has provided funding to state and local law enforcement agencies to help them purchase armor vests for their officers. The Matching Grant Program for Law Enforcement Armor Vests (hereinafter, “BPV program”) provides grants to state, local, and tribal governments to purchase armor vests for use by law enforcement officers and court officers. The BPV program was first authorized by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-181). It...

Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program: In Brief

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program was created by the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-162), which collapsed both the Edward Byrne Memorial Formula (Byrne Formula) Grant and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG) into a single program. This report provides a brief overview of JAG and its funding.

JAG funds are awarded to state and local governments based on a statutorily defined formula. Each state’s allocation is based on its proportion of the country’s population and the state’s proportion of the...

Methods of Estimating the Total Cost of Federal Regulations

Federal agencies issue thousands of regulations each year under delegated authority from Congress. Over the past 70 years, Congress and various Presidents have created a set of procedures agencies must follow to issue these regulations, some of which contain requirements for the calculation and consideration of costs, benefits, and other economic effects of regulations. In recent years, many Members of Congress have expressed an interest in various regulatory reform efforts that would change the current set of rulemaking requirements, including requirements to estimate costs and benefits...

Gun Control: CRS Experts

The following table provides names and contact information for CRS experts on policy and legal issues related to gun control. In the wake of mass shootings and other firearms-related violence, several gun control issues are often raised. They include improving and expanding background checks, further regulating certain semiautomatic firearms (“assault weapons” or “military-style” firearms) that accept detachable ammunition feeding devices (“magazines”), combating illegal gun trafficking, interstate concealed carry of handguns, and enacting or repealing appropriations limitations related...

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): FY2016 Appropriations

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is the lead federal law enforcement agency charged with administering and enforcing federal laws related to firearms and explosives commerce. ATF is also responsible for investigating arson cases with a federal nexus, and criminal cases involving the diversion of alcohol and tobacco from legal channels of commerce. Congress funds the ATF through an annual appropriation in the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, because it is a component of the Department of Justice (DOJ). For FY2016,...

The Islamic State—Frequently Asked Questions: Threats, Global Implications, and U.S. Policy Responses

In the wake of the deadly November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, U.S. policymakers are faced with a wide range of strategy and operational considerations related to the activities of and threats emanating from the Islamic State (IS). A terrorist attack such as this prompts an examination of U.S. domestic security precautions; the role of allies and coalition partners; the appropriate military and diplomatic reactions; the safety and security of infrastructure and that of travelers; and numerous additional discrete issues that require the active involvement of dozens of federal,...

Homeland Security Investigations, a Directorate within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: In Brief

In June 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with law enforcement responsibilities, altered its structure. Among the changes, ICE created a directorate it named “Homeland Security Investigations” or HSI. HSI, one of the two primary operational directorates to emerge from ICE’s 2010 realignment, combined elements within ICE that focused on criminal investigation. The directorate was designed to pursue criminals and terrorists who “violate [U.S.] customs and immigration laws worldwide.” Criminal investigators working for...

Is Violent Crime in the United States Increasing?

On August 31, 2015, the New York Times ran an article with the headline “Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities.” The story highlighted double-digit percentage increases in homicide rates in several cities, and came on the heels of reports from other media outlets of recent spikes in violent crime in cities across the country. Accounts of rising violent crime rates in some cities have generated speculation about whether the United States is in the midst of a new crime wave.

Overall, homicide and violent crime rates have been trending downward for more than two decades, and both...

Is This the First Step in Undoing Mass Incarceration? 6,000 Federal Drug Offenders Set to be Released

In early November, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is scheduled to release approximately 6,000 federal inmates convicted of drug trafficking offenses. This report briefly examines the background of this release and its potential effects.

Backlog of Sexual Assault Evidence: In Brief

Sexual assault kits (SAKs, also referred to as “rape kits”) are used by medical professionals to collect evidence during a forensic medical exam of a sexual assault victim in order to establish elements of a crime. Generally, upon completion of the medical exam the kit is transferred to an authorized law enforcement agency that logs the kit into evidence. Procedure and protocol regarding when and where kits are sent, however, vary across jurisdictions. Some law enforcement agencies automatically send the kits to forensic laboratories for testing while others wait for varying amounts of...

Overview of the FY2016 Continuing Resolution (H.R. 719)

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the FY2016 continuing appropriations in H.R. 719. None of the FY2016 regular appropriations bills were enacted by the start of the fiscal year (October 1, 2015). On September 30, 2015, H.R. 719, a continuing resolution (CR) for FY2016, was signed into law by the President (P.L. 114-53).

The CR for FY2016 covers all 12 regular appropriations bills by providing continuing budget authority for projects and activities funded in FY2015 by that fiscal year’s regular appropriations acts, with some exceptions. It includes both budget...

Federal Tactical Teams

In 2014 and 2015, reports of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams used by law enforcement agencies in allegedly questionable raids or in what appeared to be aggressive responses to public disturbances generated interest among policymakers in federal tactical teams. There is no single source for data on federal tactical teams. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) surveyed federal agencies with law enforcement personnel to collect basic information on any tactical teams they maintain.

The number of tactical teams has proliferated among American law enforcement since the first SWAT...

Mass Murder with Firearms: Incidents and Victims, 1999-2013

In the wake of tragedy in Newtown, CT, Congress defined “mass killings” as “3 or more killings in a single incident” (P.L. 112-265). Any consideration of new or existing gun laws that follows mass shootings is likely to generate requests for comprehensive data on the prevalence and deadliness of these incidents. Despite the pathos of mass shootings, only a handful of researchers and journalists have analyzed the principal source of homicide data in the United States—the Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR) compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—to determine whether those...

Charleston, SC, Mass Shooter Might Have Been Denied a Handgun If Not for Possible Recordkeeping Oversights

This report briefly discusses the announcement by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey that the alleged assailant in the Charleston, SC, mass murder/shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church might have been prevented from acquiring a handgun if not for possible recordkeeping oversights on the part of the FBI and Columbia, SC, city police and county sheriff's departments.

District of Columbia: Issues in the 114th Congress

In the coming weeks and months the 114th Congress will debate a number of funding, governance, and constitutional issues affecting the District of Columbia, including budget and legislative autonomy, voting representation in the national legislature, federal appropriations, and congressionally supported education initiatives. In addition, Congress may consider measures intended to void or otherwise modify acts and initiatives approved by District citizens and their elected representatives. The mechanisms available to Congress in carrying out its oversight of District affairs include...

South Carolina Church Shooting and Hate Crime in the United States

This report provides statistics on Hate Crimes in the United States, in the wake of the South Carolina Church Shooting on June 18, 2015.

Department of Homeland Security: FY2015 Appropriations

This report analyzes the FY2015 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While this report makes note of many budgetary resources provided to DHS, its primary focus is on funding approved by Congress through the appropriations process.

The Administration requested $38.332 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2015, as part of an overall budget of $60.919 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). The request amounted to a $0.938 billion, or 2.4%, decrease...

Selected Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 114th Congress

In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, “homeland security” went from being a concept discussed among a relatively small cadre of policymakers and strategic thinkers to a broadly discussed issue in Congress. Debates over how to implement coordinated homeland security policy led to the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has continued under the leadership of different Administrations, Congresses, and in a shifting...

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action of November 20, 2014: Overview and Issues

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his Immigration Accountability Executive Action which would revise some U.S. immigration policies and initiate several programs, including a revised border security policy for the Southwest border; deferred action programs for some unauthorized aliens; revised interior enforcement priorities; changes to aid the entry of skilled workers; promoting immigrant integration and naturalization; and several other initiatives the President indicated would improve the U.S. immigration system. The most controversial among these provisions would grant...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2015 Appropriations

This report tracks and describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2015 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2014 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual appropriation for CJS.

The annual CJS appropriations act provides funding for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the science agencies, and several related agencies. Appropriations for the Department of Commerce include funding for agencies such as the Census Bureau; the U.S. Patent and...

Gun Control Legislation in the 113th Congress

The December 2012 Newtown, CT, tragedy, along with other mass shootings in Aurora, CO, and Tucson, AZ, restarted the national gun control debate in the 113th Congress. The Senate considered a range of legislative proposals, including several that President Barack Obama supported as part of his national gun violence reduction plan. The most salient of these proposals would have (1) required background checks for intrastate firearms transfers between unlicensed persons at gun shows and nearly any other venue, otherwise known as the “universal background checks” proposal; (2) increased...

Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 113th Congress

Immigration reform was an active legislative issue in the first session of the 113th Congress. The Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes provisions on border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, legalization of unauthorized aliens, immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas, and humanitarian admissions. For its part, the House took a different approach to immigration reform. Rather than considering a single comprehensive...

American Foreign Fighters and the Islamic State: Broad Challenges for Federal Law Enforcement

This report offers a framework for considering the challenges to domestic security posed by American fighters in the terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, previously referred to as ISIS or ISIL) and outlines some of the ways that U.S. law enforcement responds to such challenges.

Can Body Worn Cameras Serve as a Deterrent to Police Misconduct?

This report discusses various issues regarding body worn cameras (BWCs), including the potential merits, concerns, and financial costs of use. The report also briefly states a possible method for allotting federal funds to help law enforcement agencies purchase BWCs.

The "Militarization" of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense's "1033 Program

This report discusses the response of SWAT teams to extraordinary cases that has raised questions about the so called "militarization" of law enforcement.

Domestic Terrorism Appears to Be Reemerging as a Priority at the Department of Justice

This document examines an apparent shift in priorities at the Department of Justice (DOJ) towards a renewed focus on domestic terrorism with the reestablishment of its Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, which had been defunct for several years. The report considers why the shift in focus may be occurring and also briefly examines different types of domestic terror threats.

Border Security: CRS Experts

The following table lists the names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns related to border security. Policy areas identified include the following: Mission: scope, magnitude, relationship to departmental mission, functions and their interrelationships. Border surveillance: airports and air space; detection of nuclear and radiological materials; land borders; seaports and waterways. Immigration and foreign visitors: immigration; border “look out” systems; illegal entry; visa issuance and alien tracking. Transnational issues: border violence; foreign cooperation with...

Select Committee on Benghazi: CRS Experts

The following table provides names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to the Select Committee on Benghazi (H.Res. 567). In addition to the policy expertise identified below, related CRS products include CRS Insight IN10055, House Select Committee Precedents and Procedures and H. Res. 567, Establishing a Select Committee on the 2012 Benghazi Attack, by Christopher M. Davis; CRS Insight IN10022, Diplomatic Security After Benghazi, by Alex Tiersky; CRS Report R43195, Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Legislative and Executive Branch...

Department of Homeland Security: FY2014 Appropriations

This report analyzes the FY2014 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested $39.0 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2014, as part of an overall budget of $60.0 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $10,833 million; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), $4,997 million; Transportation Security...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2014 Appropriations

On March 26, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6). The act provides a total of $60.638 billion for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). After rescissions and sequestration, the act provided a total of $57.936 billion for CJS, of which $7.510 billion was for the Department of Commerce, $25.830 billion was for the Department of Justice, $23.769 billion was for the science agencies, and $827.9 million was for the related agencies.

On April 10, 2013, President Obama submitted his FY2014 budget to...

School Resource Officers: Law Enforcement Officers in Schools

Some policymakers have expressed renewed interest in school resource officers (SROs) as a result of the December 2012 mass shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. SROs are sworn law enforcement officers who are assigned to work in schools.

For FY2014, the Administration requested $150 million in funding for a Comprehensive Schools Safety Program under the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. Congress appropriated $75 million for a Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. Congress required the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to collaborate...

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: FY2013 Appropriations

The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Interior (DOI), except for the Bureau of Reclamation, and for agencies within other departmentsincluding the Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture and the Indian Health Service within the Department of Health and Human Services. It also includes funding for arts and cultural agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous other entities.

Neither the House nor the Senate passed a regular appropriations bill for FY2013 for Interior, Environment, and...

Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 113th Congress

With the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), many observers have made a fresh assessment of where America’s homeland security enterprise stands today. DHS is currently the third-largest department in the federal government, although it does not incorporate all of the homeland security functions at the federal level. The definition of homeland security remains unsettled, and questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of the department have been raised since it was first proposed. Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has...

Department of Homeland Security: FY2013 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2013 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested $39.510 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2013, as part of an overall budget of $59.501 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). The request amounted to a $90 million, or 0.2%, decrease from the $39.600 billion enacted for FY2012 through the consolidated appropriations act (P.L. 112-74).

Congress did not enact final FY2013 appropriations legislation...

Terrorism and Transnational Crime: Foreign Policy Issues for Congress

This report provides an overview of transnational security issues related to patterns of interaction among international terrorist and crime groups. In addition, the report discusses the U.S. government’s perception of and response to the threat. It concludes with an analysis of foreign policy options.

In recent years, the U.S. government has asserted that terrorism, insurgency, and crime interact in varied and significant ways, to the detriment of U.S. national security interests. Although unclassified anecdotal evidence largely serves as the basis for the current understanding of...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2013 Appropriations

On February 13, 2012, President Obama submitted his FY2013 budget to Congress. The Administration requests a total of $62.076 billion for the agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. The Administration’s request includes $7.978 billion for the Department of Commerce, $28.079 billion for the Department of Justice, $25.090 billion for the science agencies, and $929.2 million for the related agencies. The FY2013 request for CJS is 1.9% greater than the FY2012 appropriation of $60.910 billion.

On April 19,...

Public Mass Shootings in the United States: Selected Implications for Federal Public Health and Safety Policy

This report focuses on mass shootings and selected implications they have for federal policy in the areas of public health and safety. While such crimes most directly impact particular citizens in very specific communities, addressing these violent episodes involves officials at all levels of government and professionals from numerous disciplines.

Defining Public Mass Shooting

Policy makers may confront numerous questions about shootings such as the December 2012 incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, that claimed 27 lives (not including the shooter). Foremost, what are...

FY2013 Supplemental Funding for Disaster Relief

On January 29, 2013, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013, a $50.5 billion package of disaster assistance largely focused on responding to Hurricane Sandy, was enacted as P.L. 113-2.

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy impacted a wide swath of the East Coast of the United States, resulting in more than 120 deaths and the major disaster declarations for 12 states plus the District of Columbia. The Administration submitted a request to Congress on December 7, 2012, for $60.4 billion in supplemental funding and legislative provisions to address both the immediate losses and damages...

Recent Protests in Muslim Countries: Background and Issues for Congress

Muslims in a number of countries have responded in recent days with anger at the United States that many observers describe as a response to a privately produced film circulating on the Internet that denigrates Islam and the prophet Mohammed. In some cases, this outrage has taken the form of public expressions by relatively small groups of demonstrators, and in other countries the demonstrations have been larger. In the most extreme cases, such demonstrations have been accompanied by violent attacks against U.S. diplomatic personnel and diplomatic facilities. Pre-existing anti-U.S....

Homeland Security Department: FY2012 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2012 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a total appropriation (mandatory and discretionary) of $45,015 million in budget authority for FY2012. This amounts to a $1,610 million, or a 3.7%, increase from the $43,405 million enacted for FY2011 through the continuing resolution (P.L. 112-10). Total budget authority, including appropriations, fee revenues, and trust funds in the Administration’s budget request for DHS for FY2012 amounts to $57,079 million as compared to $55,783 million enacted for FY2011.

Net...

FY2012 Appropriations Overview: Status of Discretionary Appropriations Legislation

This report presents an overview of proposed and enacted FY2012 appropriations legislation. The report consists primarily of a table showing discretionary appropriations, by bill title, for each of the proposed and enacted appropriations bills, together with the comparable figures enacted for FY2011. The product is intended to allow for broad comparison between the House and Senate FY2012 proposals, the Administration’s FY2012 request, and the FY2011 and FY2012 enacted appropriations. The figures do not necessarily reflect budget scorekeeping adjustments allowable under the Budget Control...

American Jobs Act: Provisions for Hiring Targeted Groups, Preventing Layoffs, and for Unemployed and Low-Income Workers

In response to continuing high rates of unemployment and a weak economy, President Obama announced his American Jobs Act on September 8, 2011. As stated by the President, the proposal aims to “put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.” The proposal was introduced, by request, as S. 1549 and H.R. 12. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid subsequently introduced the proposal with a different spending offset, as S. 1660 on October 6. Since then, individual pieces of the American Jobs Act have been considered—and some provisions enacted—as freestanding...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2012 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2012 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts.

On November 18, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-55), which includes the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (Division B). The act includes $60.91 billion for CJS, of which $7.808 billion is for the Department of Commerce, $27.408 billion is for the Department of Justice, $24.838 billion is for the science...

Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 112th Congress

With the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, many observers are making a fresh assessment of where America’s homeland security enterprise stands today. In the wake of those attacks, Congress made extensive changes to the structure and function of many agencies, establishing a consolidated Department of Homeland Security and dedicating significant additional resources expressly to the security of the homeland. After the initial surge of activity, evolution of America’s response has continued under the leadership of different Administrations, Congresses, and in a...

FY2011 Appropriations: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Key Proposals and Enacted Legislation

FY2011 funding levels were not enacted in the 111th Congress. Thus, the debate over FY2011 appropriations continued into the 112th Congress and FY2011 spending proposals became a key focal point in the budget debates between the now-Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Obama Administration.

This report was originally intended to facilitate comparison of three key spending proposals for FY2011—the Administration’s budget request, H.R. 1, and S.Amdt. 149 to H.R. 1—to FY2010 enacted funding levels. It has been updated to include the enacted FY2011 appropriations in P.L....

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2011 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2011 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). It also provides an overview of FY2010 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual appropriation for CJS.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117), included a total of $68.705 billion in new budget authority for CJS. Of the $68.705 billion appropriated for FY2010, $14.035 billion was for the Department of Commerce, $28.078 billion was for the Department of Justice, $25.658 billion was for the...

Homeland Security Department: FY2011 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2011 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $45.0 billion in budget authority for FY2011. This amounts to a $1.1 billion, or a 2.4% increase from the $43.9 billion enacted for FY2010. Total budget authority requested by the Administration for DHS for FY2011 amounts to $52.6 billion as compared to $51.7 billion enacted for FY2010.

Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $9,809 million; Immigration and Customs...

Osama bin Laden’s Death: Implications and Considerations

The May 1, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden (OBL) by U.S. forces in Pakistan has led to a range of views about near- and long-term security and foreign policy implications for the United States. Experts have a range of views about the killing of OBL. Some consider his death to be a largely symbolic event, while others believe it marks a significant achievement in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Individuals suggesting that his death lacks great significance argue that U.S. and allied actions had eroded OBL’s ability to provide direction and support to Al Qaeda (AQ). For these analysts, OBL’s...

Hate Crime Legislation

This report provides an overview of the hate crime debate, with background on current law and hate crime statistics, and a legislative history of hate crime prevention bills in recent Congresses. This report does not analyze the constitutional or other legal issues that often arise as part of the hate crime debate.

FY2010 Supplemental for Wars, Disaster Assistance, Haiti Relief, and Other Programs

The Administration requested $64.3 billion in FY2010 supplemental appropriations: $5.1 billion to replenish the U.S. Disaster Relief Fund administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); $33 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) primarily for deploying 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan; $4.5 billion in war-related foreign aid; and $2.8 billion for Haiti earthquake-related relief and reconstruction aid; $243 million for activities related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; $600 million for border security, and $129 million to reduce backlogs in patent requests;...

Illegal Drug Trade in Africa: Trends and U.S. Policy

Africa has historically held a peripheral role in the transnational illicit drug trade, but in recent years has increasingly become a locus for drug trafficking, particularly of cocaine. Recent estimates suggest that in recent years, apart from late 2008 and 2009, between 46 and 300 metric tons of South American cocaine may have transited West Africa en route to Europe. Recent cocaine seizure levels are sharply higher than those in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which in all of Africa rarely exceeded 1 metric ton a year. Africa’s emergence as a trafficking nexus appears to have resulted...

Federal Domestic Illegal Drug Enforcement Efforts: Are They Working?

This report examines the federal drug enforcement data reported annually by key agencies charged with enforcing federal drug control laws. This report provides background and an overview of current federal drug control efforts and outcomes.

The MS-13 and 18th Street Gangs: Emerging Transnational Gang Threats?

This report provides an overview of the MS-13 and M-18 gangs,5 examines how MS-13 and M-18 gangs are different from other gangs and organized crime groups, and discusses what constitutes a transnational gang. The report also explores whether MS-13 and M-18 gangs are transnational gangs, and discusses the various federal responses to these gangs.

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2010 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2010 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). This report uses the House report to accompany H.R. 2847 (H.Rept. 111-149) and the text of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-32), as the source for the FY2009-enacted and the FY2010-requested amounts, and it uses the Senate report to accompany H.R. 2847 (S.Rept. 111-34) as the source for the amounts in the House-passed bill. The Senate-passed version of H.R. 2847 is used as the source for the Senate-passed amounts. The...

Terrorist Watchlist Checks and Air Passenger Prescreening

This report discusses the controversy continues to surround U.S. air passenger prescreening and terrorist watchlist checks. In the past, such controversy centered around diverted international flights and misidentified passengers. Recent incidents raise new policy issues regarding the interaction between these broader terrorist databases and systems and the "No-Fly" and selectee lists, as well as the relationship between passenger prescreening processes.

Defense: FY2010 Authorization and Appropriations

For the Department of Defense (DOD) in FY2010, the Administration requested a total of $663.8 billion in discretionary budget authority. This includes $533.8 billion for the so-called “base budget”—all DOD activities other than combat operations—and $130.0 billion for “overseas contingency operations,” including operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Administration also requested $75.9 billion in supplemental DOD appropriations for FY2009 to cover war costs. The Administration’s DOD request, made public May 7, 2009, incorporated Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s April 6 recommendations to...

Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies: FY2009 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2009 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8). In the Omnibus, Congress appropriated $60.538 billion for CJS agencies. This amount was $4.578 billion more than the FY2008 enacted level (an 8.2% increase) and $3.488 billion more than the amended FY2009 request (a 6.1% increase). The Omnibus included $9.268 billion for the Department of Commerce, $26.120 billion for the Department of...

Selected Federal Compensation Programs for Physical Injury or Death

Congress has established a number of programs to compensate or assist victims of certain specific circumstances, including negligence, terrorism, and “acts of God.” Federal compensation programs can be described by certain common attributes. These include aspects of program administration; requirements for and determination of individual eligibility; eligibility of health care providers; types of benefits provided; whether certain diseases are presumed to be eligible for compensation; and the means by which the program is financed.

Though federal compensation programs display considerable...

Information Operations, Cyberwarfare, and Cybersecurity: Capabilities and Related Policy Issues

This report describes the emerging areas of information operations, cybersecurity, and cyberwar in the context of U.S. national security. It also notes related policy issues of potential interest to Congress.

For military planners, the control of information is critical to military success, and communications networks and computers are of vital operational importance. The use of technology to both control and disrupt the flow of information has been generally referred to by several names: information warfare, electronic warfare, cyberwar, netwar, and Information Operations (IO). Currently,...

Homeland Emergency Preparedness and the National Exercise Program: Background, Policy Implications, and Issues for Congress

This report provides an overview of emergency preparedness authorities and guidance; development and management of the National Exercise Program (NEP); and current exercise planning, scheduling, and evaluation processes. Additionally, it provides analysis of national preparedness policy issues and exercise operations issues that Congress might wish to consider.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Appropriations for FY2008 and FY2009

This report provides coverage of the FY2009 appropriations cycle for the Department of Justice (DOJ), including FY2008 supplemental appropriations.

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2008 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 110th Congress for the FY2008 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161), Congress has provided $54.637 billion in CJS appropriations, a 3.4% increase over the FY2007 enacted level and a 2.2% increase over the Administration’s request. This amount includes $6.857 billion for the Department of Commerce (a 3.5% increase over the FY2007 enacted level), $23.592 billion for the Department of Justice (a 1.6% increase), $23.38 billion for science agencies (a 5.3%...

Botnets, Cybercrime, and Cyberterrorism: Vulnerabilities and Policy Issues for Congress

Cybercrime is becoming more organized and established as a transnational business. High technology online skills are now available for rent to a variety of customers, possibly including nation states, or individuals and groups that could secretly represent terrorist groups. The increased use of automated attack tools by cybercriminals has overwhelmed some current methodologies used for tracking Internet cyberattacks, and vulnerabilities of the U.S. critical infrastructure, which are acknowledged openly in publications, could possibly attract cyberattacks to extort money, or damage the U.S....

Victims of Crime Compensation and Assistance: Background and Funding

Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies (House)/Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Senate): FY2007 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 109th Congress for the House’s Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies (SSJC) and the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) FY2007 appropriations bill. Appropriations bills reflect the jurisdiction of the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in which they are considered. Jurisdictions for the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees changed at the beginning of the 109th Congress.

On September 29, 2006, Congress passed the Defense Department Appropriation...

Terrorist Capabilities for Cyberattack: Overview and Policy Issues

Terrorist’s use of the internet and other telecommunications devices is growing both in terms of reliance for supporting organizational activities and for gaining expertise to achieve operational goals. Tighter physical and border security may also encourage terrorists and extremists to try to use other types of weapons to attack the United States. Persistent Internet and computer security vulnerabilities, which have been widely publicized, may gradually encourage terrorists to continue to enhance their computer skills, or develop alliances with criminal organizations and consider...

Federal Counter-Terrorism Training: Issues for Congressional Oversight

Federal counter-terrorism training programs are varied and are provided by numerous federal agencies and departments. Some of these departments and agencies include the Departments of Defense (DOD), Energy (DOE), Homeland Security (DHS), Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice (DOJ), Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Each department and agency provides specific counter-terrorism training targeted to given categories of recipients. Training recipients include federal, state, and local government personnel, emergency responders, and private and public...

District of Columbia: FY2006 Appropriations

On February 8, 2005, the Administration released its FY2006 budget request. The Administration’s proposed budget included $573.4 million in federal payments to the District of Columbia. Four payments (for court operations, defender services, offender supervision, and criminal justice coordination) represented $471.4 million, or 82%, of the proposed $573.4 million in total federal payments to the District.

On June 2, 2005, the District’s city council approved the city’s $8.8 billion operating budget for FY2006. The District’s budget, which must be approved by Congress, also included $3...

Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies (House)/Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Senate): FY2006 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 109th Congress for the House’s Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies (SSJC) and the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) FY2006 appropriations legislation. Appropriations bills reflect the jurisdiction of the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in which they are considered. Jurisdictions for the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees changed at the beginning of the 109th Congress. In the 108th Congress, both the House and Senate subcommittees had...

H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (October 8, 2004) and Senate (October 6, 2004) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill, because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process to date. For purposes of clarity, we refer to the House-passed bill as...

Online Privacy Protection: Issues and Developments

It is routinely acknowledged that the success of the Internet and electronic commerce depends upon the resolution of issues related to the privacy of online personal information. This paper discusses some potential threats to the privacy of online personal information, and efforts by businesses, governments, and citizens to respond to them. The paper also provides an overview of the legal framework for the protection of personal information. Some advocate legal recognition of a right to "information privacy" for online transactions. The term "information privacy" refers to an...

The Encryption Debate: Intelligence Aspects

The 106th Congress is expected to resume an ongoing debate on restricting the export of sophisticated computer encryption systems. In the 105th Congress strong support for removing encryption export restrictions and allowing U.S. software firms to compete in the world marketplace was balanced by concern that widespread availability of such systems could undercut important law enforcement and intelligence interests. No encryption legislation passed in the 105th Congress. The Clinton Administration relaxed some restrictions on encryption sales based on existing export legislation, but...