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Obama Wants $173 Million For DOJ's 'Smart On Crime' Push

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The Obama administration would like to put $173 million into the Justice Department's "Smart on Crime" initiative, according to the administration's fiscal year 2015 budget request.

The request, part of the overall $27.4 billion budget request for DOJ, would give U.S. attorneys $15 million to put toward "prosecution prioritization, prevention and reentry work, and promoting alternatives to incarceration such as the establishment of drug courts and veteran courts." It would also fund an expansion of drug abuse programs for both state and federal prisoners and makes more money available to state and local assistance programs for ex-offenders.

It is unlikely that Congress will pass a budget this year, with House Republicans putting forward a budget of their own and showing no interest in even taking up Obama's budget plan. The proposal nonetheless shows the administration's priorities in the criminal justice reform realm.

“Each dollar spent on prevention and reentry has the potential to save several dollars in incarceration costs," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "These wise investments can help make our criminal justice system more effective and efficient. Overall, this budget request shows our strong commitment to building upon the record of progress we have established in fulfilling the Justice Department’s most critical missions.”

UPDATE: 2:15 p.m. -- A Justice Department spokeswoman said that some of the "Smart on Crime" initiatives can be funded with money appropriated in fiscal year 2014, even if Congress doesn't pass a budget.

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