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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Calls on Congress to Restore Crime and Drug Enforcement Funds

BALTIMORE, MD (February 4, 2009) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today joined 50 Attorneys General in sending a letter to Congress urging the restoration of federal funding for crime and drug enforcement efforts. A 67-percent funding cut from last year to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne/JAG) program has already forced law enforcement agencies to shut down multi-jurisdictional drug and gang task forces.

The Senate had funded the FY 2008 Byrne/JAG program at $660 million and the House at $600 million in each of their respective appropriations bills. The omnibus bill that was enacted into law, however, cut the Byrne/JAG program by 67% of its FY 2007 funding level, from $520 million to $170 million. The Attorneys General want fiscal year 2008 Byrne/JAG funds restored through supplemental appropriations, and adequate funding levels in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. If Byrne/JAG funding is not restored, widespread layoffs of police and prosecutors are a real possibility and programs proven to assist drug-addicted citizens in becoming productive members of society will be shut down.

“With the economic downturn and a possible increase in crime due to a weakened economy, these federal cuts could not have come at a worse time,” said Attorney General Gansler. “These cuts will severely hamper our efforts to fight crime, assist victims of crime and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

Byrne/JAG funds a variety of important programs in the states, including multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement, treatment interventions, police training, technology improvements, crime prevention programs, and crime victims’ assistance programs. Byrne/JAG is currently the only source of funding available for multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement and is critical for drug courts, law enforcement information sharing, gang prevention, and prisoner reentry programs.

   

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