Vera Institute of Justice on the Congressional Budget Resolution

This week the House passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution by a vote of 220 to 212. The Vera Institute of Justice issued the following statement in response:

“The budget resolution includes instructions amounting to $107.5 billion for community-based violence intervention strategies and other justice-related initiatives. This is an important step forward in committing to evidence-based solutions to prevent further gun violence. When we invest in community-based solutions to crime—like violence interruption and prevention—we’ve decreased gun homicides between 16 and 35 percent and saved millions of dollars from decreases in crime. We applaud this component of the budget resolution for being responsive to the needs of communities that are already under stress from years of disinvestment and systemic racism, widespread loss of life, debilitating illness, and loss of connections that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, this resolution also included a non-binding amendment introduced by Sen. Tuberville (R-AL) which passed unanimously in the Senate by a vote of 99 to 0. The amendment punishes localities that decide to reduce the size and budget of police departments by preventing access to federal funding. Vera is committed to expanding our nation’s understanding of public safety beyond law enforcement alone. Localities that invest in other public and community-based services for public safety, like the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) in Denver, Colorado, should not be penalized for helping ensure every member of their community to thrive. For example, nearly 25 percent of people who were fatally shot by police since 2015 were people with signs of unmet mental health needs. And, 70 percent of respondents in a poll from The Appeal said they supported federal grants to establish programs that would replace armed police with trained experts in such emergencies.”

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