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Congressional Research Service (CRS) (Washington, DC)

"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, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to help them purchase armor vests for their officers through the Matching Grant Program for Law Enforcement Armor Vests (also referred to as the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Initiative, hereinafter “the BPV program”). Congress is considering legislation that would reauthorize the program through FY2018. S. 933, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2013, would, among other things, reauthorize the BPV program until FY2018" (p. 1). This report provides an overview of the BPV program and covers issues relevant to a debate regarding the reauthorization of BPV. Sections following a summary are: background; Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S. 933); authorization and appropriations; the use of armor vests by law enforcement; the life cycle of armor vests; effectiveness of armor vests; and selected issues for Congress.

Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief Cover

This is essential reading for those people working or interested in offender reentry efforts. The report looks at correctional systems in the United States, the federal government's involvement in offender reentry programs, and the Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199). Sections of this report include: correctional system statistics—population in correctional facilities, offenders under community supervision, and recidivism; a brief literature review for offender reentry—offender reentry defined, and program effectiveness--the "What Works" literature; federal offender reentry programs—Department of Justice , other federal agencies, and coordination between federal agencies; and conclusion.

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

"There have been legislative proposals to implement a risk and needs assessment system in federal prisons. The system would be used to place inmates in rehabilitative programs. Under the proposed system some inmates would be eligible to earn additional time credits for participating in rehabilitative programs that reduce their risk of recidivism. Such credits would allow inmates to be placed on prerelease custody earlier. The proposed system would exclude inmates convicted of certain offenses from being eligible to earn additional time credits … In general, research suggests that the most commonly used assessment instruments can, with a moderate level of accuracy, predict who is at risk for violent recidivism. It also suggests that no single instrument is superior to any other when it comes to predictive validity" (p. ii). While assessments based on the Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) model have been quite useful in determining high- and low-risk offenders there is still some controversy regarding the wide-scale use of assessments in the criminal justice system. Sections of this report following a summary include: an overview of risk and needs assessment; RNR principles; critiques of risk and needs assessments—making judgment about individuals based on group tendencies, the separation of assessment of risk from assessment of needs, and the potential for discriminatory effects; and select issues for congress regarding—the use of risk and needs assessment in federal prisons, the exclusion of certain inmates from earning additional time credits, whether priority should be given to high-risk offenders, the use of assessment in sentencing, and whether the emphasis on punishment should be decreased.

Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System

“Since the early 1980s, there has been a historically unprecedented increase in the federal prison population. Some of the growth is attributable to changes in federal criminal justice policy during the previous three decades. An issue before Congress is whether policymakers consider the rate of growth in the federal prison population sustainable, and if not, what changes could be made to federal criminal justice policy to reduce the prison population while maintaining public safety. This report explores the issues related to the growing federal prison” (p. i). Sections of this report following a summary are: introduction; federal prison population—conviction offense for federal inmates, and length of sentences for federal offenders; policy changes that contributed to prison population growth—mandatory minimum sentences, federalization of crime, and eliminating parole for federal inmates; issues related to prison population growth—cost of operating the system, prison overcrowding, inmate-to-staff ratio, and prison construction and maintenance; select policy options—continuing or expanding current correctional policies (expanding the capacity of the system, investing in rehabilitative programs, and placing more inmates in private prisons), and changing existing correctional and sentencing policies to reduce prison population—changes to mandatory minimum penalties, alternatives to incarceration, early release measures, modifying the “safety valve” provision, and repealing federal criminal statutes for some offenses; and conclusion.

The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues, and Options Cover
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