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CSSA Positions on Federal Legislation - 2007

12/20/07 Support HR 3547 (Schiff) “The Gang Prevention, Intervention and Suppression Act.” The bill is the House companion measure to S 456, the Feinstein-Hatch Gang Abatement and Prevention Act, which CSSA also supports.  It will increase and enhance law enforcement resources committed to investigation and prosecution of violent gangs, would establish new laws and tougher penalties against those who commit gang-related crimes, authorize funding for witness protection programs, and invest in successful community programs to deter young people from joining gangs in the first place.

9/28/07 Support HR 1512 (Sanchez) re SCAAP Reimbursement Criteria.  HR 1512 would provide for compensation to States incarcerating undocumented aliens charged with a felony or two or more misdemeanors. The bill would amend the SCAAP reimbursement criteria so that States can be reimbursed for the costs associated with incarcerating both convicted and accused undocumented aliens.

7/31/07 Oppose HR 555 (Rush) “The Family Telephone Connection Protection Act of 2007” which would establish unreasonable and restrictive requirements in order to provide telephone services to inmates.

5/21/07 Support S 456 (Feinstein) “The Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2007.” S 456 would provide a comprehensive approach to the problem of violence by criminal street gangs.  The bill establishes new crimes and tougher federal penalties to deter and punish members of illegal street gangs and provides more than $1 billion in funding over five years for gang enforcement, prevention and intervention programs over five years. The Attorney General would be required to designate certain locations as “High Intensity” Interstate Gang Activity Areas (HIGAA’s) and assistance would be provided in the form of criminal street gang enforcement teams made up of local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute criminal street gangs in each high intensity interstate gang activity area.

5/21/07 Support re Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.  Strong support of reauthorization of $1.095 billion for the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program.  The funding would provide the moneys to state and local law enforcement task forces and other agencies each year through FY 2012.  The Byrne-JAG grants program return on investment impact in protecting our communities is considerable.

3/16/07 Strong Support of State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP)SCAAP provides federal assistance to states and localities that are incurring costs of incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens who have been convicted of state and local offenses and have been incarcerated for a minimum of four consecutive days.

Since 1995, Congress has never fully funded the SCAAP program.  Based on a 2005 GAO report, counties were reimbursed less than 25 percent of costs to incarcerate SCAAP criminal aliens.  CSSA urges that the program be funded at a minimum of $950 million for FY 2008.  Additionally, we strongly support modifying the SCAAP program's reimbursement criteria so that correctional facilities can be reimbursed for the costs associated with incarcerating both convicted and accused undocumented aliens. We believe that such a modification is both judicious and consistent with the legislative intent of SCAAP.

Under guidelines announced in 2003 by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), counties are no longer able to request reimbursement for undocumented aliens that are never convicted.  Furthermore, the new BJA standard creates a gap in reimbursement if the incarceration period and the conviction do not occur within the same fiscal year.  Under the agency's ruling, jurisdictions lose the right to be reimbursed for all pre-trial incarceration if the undocumented alien is not convicted until the subsequent fiscal year. This simple modification would help cash-strapped counties recover a portion of the costs associated with the burden of incarcerating undocumented immigrants.

3/9/07 Oppose HR 555 (Rush) “The Family Telephone Connection Protection Act of 2007” which would establish unreasonable and restrictive requirements in order to provide telephone services to inmates.