United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Taking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 online

. (page 10 of 51)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTaking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 → online text (page 10 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

them and reviewing them; and certainly once they are finalized, ab-
solutely you should have them.

Mr. SCHIFF. That is fair enough, thank you.

With respect to the grants under the bill, I know you emphasized
that it is Department of Justice policy that grants should be made
without regard to political considerations.

Mr. Schmidt. Yes.

Mr. Schiff. I am sure you are not surprised that there are some
suspicious minds out there that wonder, with the grants issued be-
tween the time that the President signed the bill in September and
Election Day, particularly when I saw news reports and other peo-
ple saw news reports that communities got grants that didn't even
apply for them. I wonder if you can put together a list of all of the
grants that were approved between the day the President signed
the bill and Election Day? I wonder if I could have that.

Mr. Schmidt. Sure. There was only one set of grants, and those
were the ones that were announced publicly. There were a lot of
suspicious minds and people who looked at those grants and tried
to figure out, is there some overweighting of Democratic districts
or Republican districts. And one analysis I saw, I think USA Today
did — concluded that the greater weight of grants were going to dis-
tricts with Republican Congressmen than were going to districts
with Democratic — there was no community that got a grant that
didn't apply. But Moffett, OK, which became kind of a cause cele-
bre, was a community where there was some publicity, where ap-
parently there were some people in the community who were not
happy about it and were not sure they wanted to go forward.

The grant application had been signed by the city officials after
approval. And in fact, since that time, they have had some further
consideration of it; and the most recent contact we have had with
Moffett, OK, is that they, in fact, at this point want the grant.
They went out on their own and hired a police chief, and they now
want to use the grant to hire an additional police officer.

But nobody was given a grant that didn't apply for it.


Mr. SCHIFF. So between the day that the President signed the
bill and Election Day there was that one announcement of grants
that covered all the grants?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes; and those were done under the specific au-
thorization in the bill that we should take last year's police hiring
supplement program, a program which was operated last year
where we had been able to make grants to only 10 percent of the
applicants, and take that pool of applicants and award $200 million
of grants on that same basis.

So the reason that could be done in October — and it was unam-
biguous in the statute that we were expected to do it imme-
diately — is because we were using an existing pool of applicants.

Mr. SCHIFF. Let us suppose we kept the crime bill as it is, with
this one exception with respect to grants. Suppose we said that
communities could take funds for crime prevention and, instead,
use them under the terms of the bill for more police or more pris-
ons if they wanted to. If a community decided that the best crime
prevention is more law enforcement, would the administration sup-
port that approach?

Mr. Schmidt. I would want to think about that. I would not re-
ject it out of hand, because among other things, the practical effect
of that would be to free up other local resources if they wanted to
expend those for crime prevention purposes. I think, to that extent,
the money is fungible at that level.

Mr. SCHIFF. Thank you.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Scott.

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. While you are thinking
about supporting or opposing that, you might want to think of what
the position would be if you could take some of the prison money
and put it into prevention.

Last year, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons in testimony
said that the best way to reduce recidivism was prison job training
programs and education, and that increasing sentences had little
relationship to recidivism.

Do you have any new evidence to dispute that testimony?

Mr. Schmidt. No; I don't. I guess, though, I would say that we
are not urging that there be a shift in the direction that you are

I think that prison funding is an important component of what
was done in 1994, and I think there was an overall balance in that
bill. And so I don't dispute that any particular prison official or any
particular study might have come to that conclusion, but I think
that there is a need — and certainly going around this country, I
find that there is a lot of evidence of need — ^for increased funding
for prisons.

Mr. Scott. There is no question whether we need more money
for prisons. The question is whether we are getting any value for
the dollar, and it has little relationship to recidivism. In the bill
last year, compared to the bill this year, does the money go to the
States or to the localities?

Mr. Schmidt. Well, I am not sure if you are talking about under
the proposal that is now before the committee. Some money contin-
ues to go to the States, such as prison money. The police money
would still go to a variety of jurisdictions. The question is whether


it goes for police or whether it could be used for anything that a
local government deems to be in the interest of public safety.

There are some other versions floating around. The Senate has
a version that would shift funding from localities to the States.

Mr. Scott. Let me ask you a question. Does the administration
unequivocally support the existing prevention programs in the ex-
isting law?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes.

Mr. Scott. Now, are you requiring an evaluation portion provi-
sion in the prevention programs as they apply?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes; we are.

Mr. Scott. So that we can see which ones work and which ones
don't work?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes; not only in the prevention programs. There is
an evaluation program in the policing program; I don't know if
there is one in the prison program, but clearly evaluation is an im-
portant component of all of this.

Mr. Scott. Are you familiar with the studies that show that the
Job Corps reduces crime?

Mr. Schmidt. No.

Mr. Scott. Head Start?

Mr. Schmidt. If you are asking me if I am familiar with specific

Mr. Scott. Pell grants?

Mr. Schmidt. I am familiar with studies that show that giving
people jobs as an alternative helps to reduce crime. When you talk
about the Job Corps, I am not sure.

Mr. Scott. Drug rehabilitation?

Mr. Schmidt. I am familiar with studies that show that drug
courts, for example, are effective in reducing recidivism by non-
violent drug offenders.

Mr. Scott. There was a recent TV program that covered drug
courts that tended to be somewhat critical of drug courts in one
area. What is the administration doing to make sure that the drug
court money is being spent effectively?

Mr. Schmidt. Well, in fact, we are just now putting out the regu-
lations for the administration of that program, which do spell out —
there are some conditions right in the statute that have to be met
for drug courts to get Federal funding, which include such things
as escalating sanctions for failure to comply with the mandatory
treatment programs.

The Office of Justice programs, which is administering that pro-
gram, has a special task force on drug courts. They are bringing
into that process the leading experts in the country on drug courts
and trying to put it together in a way that makes sure everybody
has access to the best available information about how to do it and
get it done right.

Mr. Scott. A significant portion of the drug court money goes to
community services, so that the judge will actually have a program
to refer a defendant to; is that right?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes; I mean, I think that is the key to it. The judge
has to have a program which is immediately accessible for drug
treatment; otherwise, it doesn't mean anj^hing. So I think that is
the heart of the drug court operations.


It is really a consortium where you have the treatment operation
tied directly with the court.

Mr. Scott. And how are you making sure that the treatment
programs are actually effective? Is there an — do you provide an
oversight? Local evaluation component?

Mr. Schmidt. Well, there would be an evaluation of the whole
program. It wouldn't be limited to the treatment component. It
would be an evaluation of the whole operation to see that it is car-
rying out the purposes.

Mr. Scott. Mr. Chairman, at this point, I would yield back the
balance of my time; and I will be submitting evidence for the record
showing studies of the Head Start Program that shows that it
saves more money than it costs and reduces crime. The Job Corps
Program reduces crime and saves more money than it costs, and
the Pell grants

Mr. McCoLLUM. Mr. Scott, we will take those reports as a part
of your opening statement, which, by the way, any member may
submit additional opening statement material.

Mr. Scott [continuing]. And studies of the drug rehabilitation as
a crime prevention initiative that is effective and saves more
money than it costs.

[Information not received by time of printing.]

Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Buyer.

Mr. Buyer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

One thing I did this past Friday is join with my colleague, Pete
Visclosky, who is a Democrat. We share a county in Indiana — Lake
County in Indiana.

It is an interesting county because it is a microcosm of America.
You can cut that county in half, and you have the urban problems
on one side and rural problems on the other. It is such a diverse

And so we got together, and we brought together 50 of our closest
law enforcement friends — from police chiefs in small town to the
U.S. attorney. You put the three letters together, and we had them
there. It was great. And we went down all the different provisions
in here, and there was a couple of comments that came up and I
want to talk with you about some of them.

And we also had a gentleman there who is the chairman of the
Indiana Crime Subcommittee in the general assembly. Not only are
we here in the Congress dealing with the Contract With America,
but the States out there are also dealing with their individual
State contracts.

So, for example, I notice you made comments that you are in
support of the habeas corpus reform. We can talk about this. The
habeas corpus reform that we are trying to do here at the Federal
level really doesn't necessarily address the problems unless we also
address the problems with the PCR problems at State courts — post-
conviction relief. That is also being taken care of in Indiana. We
are going to tighten up the post-conviction process.

I have a question. Mr. Schmidt brought up an interesting point
about the myth about whether politics were played in the Depart-
ment of Justice. Any time even the myth or perception arises it
bothers me. I think it would bother anyone in law enforcement. So


I take your comments with all its sincerity as real that politics
didn't play a part.

But I do recall that some of the first grants that were awarded —
let's call it selective bipartisanship. When the first grants go out,
they go out to the mayor of New York, a Republican; or mayor of
Los Angeles; a mayor from Fort Wayne; mayors that they did come
out there.

Talk about politics for a second. There were 15 Republicans who
were targeted for defeat in the last election. I was one of them. I
ran against a two-term Democrat sheriff from my county; and, lo
and behold, what happens just before the election is a grant award-
ed in that particular county for that particular sheriff. Interesting.

I would like you to dispel all of this. And that would be if you
would provide for us the documentation, the dates of the applica-
tion with the dates of the award and from whom, and then we can
dispel it. It would make me feel really easy.

Mr. Schmidt. I think you are seeing a mystery where there is
not one. The only grants that were made prior to the election were
one set of grants. They were all announced publicly on the same
day. USA Today published a list of all grant recipients.

They were all based on applications submitted a year ago prior
to that time under the Police Hiring Supplement Program, which
has been in existence under the prior Congress, and the judgments
were all made on the basis of the same factors which were scored
on the basis of crime rate and quality of community policing plan,
which were done by professionals within the Justice Department,
and the awards were made on that basis. So that there is not
any — I mean, it was public.

Mr. Buyer. Will you provide it?

Mr. Schmidt. Sure.

Mr. Buyer. Will you provide it within the week?

Mr. Schmidt. It is available. It is public. There was no secret
how those grants were determined.

Mr. Buyer. Would you provide it to me within a week?

Mr. Schmidt. Sure.

Mr. Buyer. Thank you.

I have a question. Not only in your oral comment but in your
written comment you didn't talk about victims' rights. That was in
my opening comment in regard to the ranking minority member's
comments about balance — and I agree with balance — ^that we also
have to talk about victims' rights and restitution. And I was dis-
appointed that you didn't address that. I can understand why you
need to come here and be defensive about a particular crime bill
and whatever changes we are about to make to it.

Mr. Schmidt. I thought I did mention that we support that.

Mr. Buyer. You support changing it from a permissive system to
a mandatory system.

Mr. Schmidt. We supported it in the original bill. It was not part
of the final crime bill.

Mr. Buyer. The questions that came up in the crime forum were
very good with regard to probation officers. There are concerns that
we have a mandatory victim restitution in Indiana, and it has
placed great stress in the system. Have you looked at that and
said, before we jump to a mandatory victim restitution process, do


we have the probation officers? Do we have enough within the sys-

Mr. Schmidt. It is not a new issue for the Justice Department.
I think people have looked at it. I think there is some flexibility
in even the mandatory provision to give the judge some flexibility.
But I think that is a burden that we are prepared to take on, and
we think ought to be taken on in the Federal system.

I might just mention one issue that I didn't mention on victims'
rights. But one of the elements of this bill — and I don't know
whether this was intentional or not — but the current prison fund-
ing provision of the 1994 act conditions all of the State funding, not
just truth in sentencing but also the basic grants, on the States
putting in place provisions to protect rights of victims.

The proposal that is before you takes out that requirement for
the general grants, which seems to us to be a mistake. It seems to
us that victims' rights ought to be protected in either event.

Mr. Buyer. Under the deterring of gun crimes you mentioned
that they should be 5, 10, 15. I assume that you would advocate
changing what we have in H.R. 3 that when somebody carries a
weapon in the commission of a crime, 5 years; use that weapon, it
is 10; in the bill, you discharge that firearm — in the bill, it is 30.
You advocate that? It has been 15.

Mr. Schmidt. I am not sure that I have looked closely enough
to the technical provision of H.R. 3 to be sure that I am responding
correctly, but we would support an enhancement of the current
Federal sentencing for those types of offenses to 5- and 10-year
sentences. But I really don't want to respond on something I am
not sure I understand fully.

Mr. Buyer. All right. Thank you.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Ms. Lofgren.

Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I think the issue of crime is one that is capable of engaging all
of us, is making us feel like we must do something. It is never fair
and never right for someone to be a victim of a crime, and it makes
us mad, and we want to do something.

However, I also think that those passions sometimes get in the
way of taking a very studious and thoughtful approach to making
our communities safer, and I am interested in exploring that with

I mentioned in my opening statement the study done by Orange
County released in draft form in August 1993 where they did a
multiyear analysis of who was in their juvenile hall and where
those young people ended up. They call it their 8 percent study, al-
though if you read the data it is somewhere between 8 and 15 per-
cent of the young people entering the juvenile hall go on to become
serious problems for the rest of society. And they actually comput-
erized the factors involved to show with a better than 90 percent
accuracy rate they can determine which young people will go on to
become career criminals and dangerous people.

I am wondering if you are aware of other studies that show that
same pattern of behavior? I know that there are communities all
over the country that are now trying to attack the factors in an ef-
fort to effect outcomes. Are you aware of those efforts? Do we have


results yet that are measurable? And what can you advise us about
those efforts going on?

Mr. Schmidt. Well, I know on I guess what you have to call an
anecdotal basis that that perception is widespread — more than a
perception. I think people involved in the law enforcement process
would almost universally share that perception that there are cer-
tain people who one can potentially identify early on who are high-
ly likely to end up being people who get involved in violent crime.

Ms. LOFGREN. But there are studies — for example, in the Orange
County study they found that if the young person was arrested be-
fore they were 12, had a pattern of school failure and had a parent
in jail, that child had a 93 percent chance of being in our adult sys-

Changing the results in any, in fact, even one of those out-
comes — the child becomes an A student — the child does not end up
in the criminal justice system. Do you know any comparable ap-
proach that would give us guidance that would effect criminality
among those 8 percent?

Mr. Schmidt. I do not know myself of the existence of those pro-
grams, but there would be people in the Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency who could certainly respond to that question. And
I think what I will do is see whether they have an answer to it.

Ms. LOFGREN. I would very much appreciate that.

One of the things that I think it is important for us to do — and
I am not totally hostile to the idea of block grants for local commu-
nities, although I do think we ought to have some guidance in
terms of x amount should be spent on preventive activities, x
amount on law enforcement per se. However, I think we need to
expect outcome results. We need, if you are going to spend a billion
dollars on prisons or a billion dollars on counseling for 7-year-olds,
we should be able to have something we can measure at end of 1
year or 2 years to see if what we are doing is working.

Could your department actually come up with standards that we
could utilize that would give us real information about outcomes
and criminality?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes. The comment was made earlier that the pre-
vention programs and the police programs under the 1994 act all
require an evaluation and measuring components. So it is the in-
tention that these programs will, in fact, be evaluated.

I agree with you totally. I think the programs should be held ac-
countable. I think the people who administer the programs should
be held accountable.

Ms. LOFGREN. Would the measure be crime rate per se or juve-
nile crime rate?

Mr. Schmidt. If you start getting into crime rates you get into
a lot of complicating factors. And it is hard to correct for all of
those factors.

If you are talking on an aggregate basis, demographic shifts and
others, there are people who are good at figuring out how you hon-
estly evaluate the impact of a program, and they could deal with
those factors.

Ms. LoFGREN. I would like to see the factors being utilized. We
have had programs that were sometimes evaluated by the State
and local government, and the evaluation didn't always yield solid

35-667 96-5


results that citizens could trust that we were actually doing some-
thing effective. And I think if we are going to spend any amount
of money we want to know that what we are doing is effective, and
we want to be able to measure it and be able to know that it makes
our communities safer.

Another issue I wanted to raise with you — and complaints I have
heard about from prosecutors — is that there is insufficient re-
sources for prosecution and defense — local prosecution and defense
in the current crime bill and also in the bill before us today. It
won't really do any good to have all of those new police officers if
we lack the capacity to prosecute. Could you address that issue,

Mr. Schmidt. Well, I have said it before in public settings — I
have never said it in quite this public a setting. I acknowledge the
prosecutors actually have something of a point. There is a lot of
money for police, and I know there is a lot of reason to believe that
that is effective.

If it is effective, it does produce greater demands for prosecutors.
Ultimately, it produces greater demand for prisons, and there is
money for that.

There is some money in the bill starting in the next fiscal year
to make grants to other parts of the State criminal justice systems
that will be affected by the crime bill. But the amounts of money
are arguably not proportionate to what is being spent in the police
area or in the prison area. And I think that within the resources
that are available, we would try to do the best we can to make
those available and let people use them to the extent they are

But I wouldn't dispute that. I think that prosecutors — and I have
heard it directly from a lot of prosecutors — have something of a
grievance, if you want to call it that, that when the overall package
was put together there wasn't as much money committed to the
middle parts of the system as were committed at front end at the
police stage and then at the back end at the prison stage.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Coble.

Mr. Coble. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Schmidt, good to
have you with us today.

Mr. Schmidt, in the best of all worlds. State and local govern-
ments should enjoy maximum flexibility in disposing of the Federal
grants for which they become beneficiaries. Having said that, do
you believe that the manner in which Federal funds are to be dis-
tributed under the 1994 crime bill provide that flexibility?

Mr. Schmidt. Well, you have to look program by program. I
think that the COPS Program is a sensibly and properly defined
program to carry out a measurable objective, which is to increase
the number of police in communities around this country. So within
that goal and in order to achieve that goal, I think that program
is well-designed.

I think the prison program is basically well-designed to carry out
the objective there of allowing the States to have the resources to
build additional prison facilities. So I think I would answer yes.

Mr. Coble. Would one come to mind where you would think that
perhaps the flexibility was not available? And perhaps — I am not
suggesting that it is.


Mr. Schmidt. Well, if you look at individual programs, they have
in each case I guess greater or lesser flexibility. Although all the
programs that are in the 1994 law, have — it seems to me — a rel-
atively clearly defined purpose, and the flexibility is within the
range of carrying out that purpose.

There are some provisions such as the crime prevention block
grants which allow a range of purposes and then allow local com-
munities to pick from among those purposes, but those various pur-
poses are pretty clearly defined.

Mr. Coble. Much has been said this morning, Mr. Chairman and
Mr. Schmidt, about the 100,000 cops on the street. And as you
pointed out, unfortunately, many of us — many people impersonally
respond to Federal funds as if those Federal funds do in fact fall
from the sky. You and I both know that Federal funds come out
of the pockets of our constituents and that I think is unfortunate
that many people were perhaps surprised by that.

Having said that, am I correct when I recall that the COPS
grants are for 3-year periods? Is that correct?

Mr. Schmidt. Yes.

Mr. Coble. Do you know, Mr. Schmidt, what portion of the funds

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTaking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 → online text (page 10 of 51)