The Justice Department’s proposed $27.4 billion budget reflects Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s priority of criminal justice and prison reform.
Holder’s budget — $122 million above the 2014 enacted level — includes $173 million in targeted investments for criminal justice reform efforts.
The DOJ budget requests funding for Holder’s “smart on crime” initiative to reduce the number of low-level drug offenders in prison and reduce recidivism rates by expanding drug treatment programs.
It requests $15 million for U.S. attorneys, including prevention and reentry work and promoting alternatives to incarceration such as the establishment of drug courts and veteran courts.
Another $15 million would go towards expanding the federal residential drug abuse program, and $14 million would assist inmates with reentering society and reducing the population of individuals who return to prison after being released. An additional $14 million would expand the residential substance abuse treatment program at the state and local levels.
The DOJ budget also requests $115 million for the Second Chance Act grant program to reduce recidivism and help ex-offenders return to productive lives.
“Each dollar spent on prevention and reentry has the potential to save several dollars in incarceration costs,” Holder said in a statement.
“These wise investments can help make our criminal justice system more effective and efficient.”
In addition to criminal justice reform, the DOJ budget requests $273 million for civil rights challenges, which is an $8 million increase from the 2014 budget.
An additional $15 million is requested for a $4 billion national security budget.
Funding of $182 million would go to federal, state and local law enforcement to combat gun violence, support additional background checks and improve tracing and ballistics analysis.
Of that, $55 million is allotted for grants to improve the submission of state criminal and mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
Cybersecurity is also a top DOJ priority, and $722 million would go toward cybersecurity, reflecting an additional request of $8 million over last year’s funding.