Friday, December 21, 2007

Testing the "Dumb on Crime" Strategy

Those of you who promote the “smart on crime” meme—would you please start talking to your friends and colleagues in DC? The research and knowledge base built up over decades now is going the way of the dodo bird, and no one with any strength is fighting it. Crime will get worse, but at least no terrorist will ever attack us again.

The omnibus federal appropriations bill enacted this week before Congress adjourned for the year cut the base budget for the National Institute of Justice, which funds anticrime research, reports the Consortium of Social Science Associations. The final figure was $37 million, a tiny sum by Washington standards, compared with about $55 million in the previous fiscal year. NIJ Unfortunately, the National Institute of Justice did not fare as well. The NIJ base budget for FY 2008 was cut to $37 million, down from about $55 million in FY 2007. NIJ does gets some additional funding from the other Justice Department programs, but those allocations were also reduced.

The bill requires the Justice Department Inspector General to audit all competitive grants and contracts awarded by NIJ during the past three years to examine "whether they were awarded in a fair and competitive process." On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on David Hagy's nomination to become NIJ Director.

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