For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: April 28, 2006

All State Attorneys General Join to Support Crime Victims

(Boise) – The Attorneys General of all 50 states are urging Congress to preserve federal funding for crime victims. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden co-sponsored a letter from the attorneys general to Congress, urging Congress to reject an administration proposal to take more than $1 billion from the Crime Victims Fund and use that money to balance the federal budget.

There is no tax money in the Crime Victims Fund. All money deposited into the Crimes Victim Fund comes from fines and forfeitures in federal courts. The Crime Victims Fund helps programs across Idaho and is administered at the state level by the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victims Assistance. Approximately $2 million goes for victim assistance in Idaho, while approximately $1 million is spent compensating Idaho crime victims. In 2005, 48 programs provided assistance, such as shelter, counseling and advocacy to more than 5,000 Idaho crime victims.

“Movement of these offender-generated revenues from the Crime Victims Fund undermines the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and imposes an insurmountable burden on victims by removing their primary means of overcoming the crimes committed against them,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders of both parties. “Preservation of the Crime Victims Fund is critical to our efforts to serve victims in our communities. No victim of crime should be left without the means to overcome the horrific acts committed against them.”

The letter to Congress is available on Attorney General Wasden’s website.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is co-author of a similar bipartisan effort in the United States Senate to preserve the Crime Victims Fund. Crapo has, to date, obtained the support of 24 members of the United States Senate.

In their letter, Wasden and the attorneys general also urge Congress to maintain the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program. The JAG program provides funds to assist state and local law enforcement in combating crime and violence in their communities. According to data compiled by the National Criminal Justice Association, during the 2004 grant year task forces receiving funds from this program were responsible for seizing:

  • 54,050 weapons
  • 5,646 methamphetamine labs
  • $250 million in cash and personal property
  • 2.7 million grams of amphetamines/methamphetamine
  • 1.8 million grams of powder cocaine, and
  • 27 million kilograms of marijuana.

The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program would be eliminated if Congress adopted the administration’s budget recommendation.

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