Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Baltimore Sun reports that for the second straight year the distributions to states from the U.S. Department of Justice's Crime Victims Fund will decline. The funds are generally distributed to both nonprofits and government agencies that work with crime victims, providing services ranging from legal advice to shelter to counseling. Congress capped the disbursements at $590 million in the recently passed omnibus spending bill, or $35 million less than was spent in the previous year. According to the article, the Crime Victims Fund does not receive any tax funds but is instead supported by fees and fines paid by those convicted of federal crimes. It currently has a balance of $1.7 billion, but Congress apparently capped the distributions anyway as part of an overall effort to reduce federal spending and demonstrate fiscal discipline. For more information about the Crime Victims Fund, see the Department of Justice's fact sheet (dated October 2005).