Tribal Law and Order Act: Crime Victims in Indian Country
Leslie Hagen  -  2012/11/19
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
Re the recent NY Times article about increased crime rates and decreased funding to Indian reservations, and our experience that tribes say they can't afford the TL&OA, how is the TL&OA actually helping victims of DV and rape?
 
1.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 4 of the response. I admit that more resources are needed to fully implement all aspects of the Tribal Law and Order Act. However, despite the inability for all tribes to fully implement all aspects of TLOA, the Act has enhanced justice efforts in the federal family and Tribal Nations.
 
2.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 3 of the answer. The Department of Justice recognizes the need for additional resources to help tribal nations address public safety challenges facing their communities. In the last three budgets proposed by this Administration, we have sought added resources for the Department of Justice’s Indian country law enforcement efforts. Although there have been increases in some areas, significant increases in appropriations for the Department’s Indian Country law enforcement efforts have not been provided. Nonetheless, the Department has worked within resource constraints to increase and improve our efforts, establishing early in this Administration a Department-wide initiative on tribal justice and public safety.
 
3.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 2 of the answer to your question. Over the last four years, we have reached a new era of partnership between the federal government and American Indian tribes, including an unprecedented level of collaboration with tribal law enforcement, regular consultation on a crime fighting strategy, joint federal/tribal task forces, information sharing, training of investigators, cross deputizing tribal police and prosecutors to enforce federal and tribal law.
 
4.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Good question. Due to space limits with answers I will respond in a couple of separate submissions. As Attorney General Holder had made clear, this Administration is committed to building and sustaining safe and secure Native communities across the country. We know well that tribal communities face many law enforcement challenges and are struggling to reverse unacceptable rates of violence against women and children.
 
 
What kinds of "post-offense" care programs have been established for American Indian and Alaskan Native Children and how could they differ from other programs that are out there?
 
1.  Leslie A. Hagen
 In addition to those grants available directly to federally recognized tribes through CTAS, OJJDP has funded demonstration mentoring programs, and research and evaluation programs focused on tribal youth. These include: • Tribal Youth Mentoring Program (FY08-FY11): Aims to build the capacity of tribes to develop and strengthen tribal youth mentoring programs • Tribal Juvenile Detention & Reentry Green Demonstration Program (FY09): Supports demonstrative program services with an environmental focus for tribal youth residing within or reentering from tribal juvenile detention centers.
 
2.  Leslie A. Hagen
 These two grant funding programs are described below and can be applied for via the CTAS application. 1.The Tribal Youth Program (FY99-FY12): Supports juvenile delinquency prevention services and the ability of tribes to respond to, and care for, juvenile offenders and supports tribal governments to prevent juvenile delinquency and respond to, and care for, juvenile offenders;and 2. The Tribal Juvenile Assistance Discretionary Grant Program (FY04-FY12): Supports the development and implementation of programs that increase accountability for delinquent tribal youth and strengthen tribal juvenile justice systems.
 
3.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 2 to answer. There is also DOJ funding available that may assist with post-offense programs. The Department of Justice's Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), combines funding from a number of Office of Justice Programs departments. CTAS includes two primary funding sources for federally recognized tribes that focus on youth. For more information on CTAS, visit www.justice.gov/tribal/grants.html
 
4.  Leslie A. Hagen
 In August 2010, the Community Capacity Development Office within DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs issued a report called “Strategies for Creating Offender Re-entry Programs in Indian Country. The link to the report is http://www.aidainc.net/Publications/Full_Prisoner_Reentry.pdf The report was written to provide guidance on promising practices and strategies related to offender reentry in Indian Country. It provides a historical overview, gives guidance in developing reentry programs, provides general reentry policy considerations and recommendations, highlights tribal reentry programs, and provides federal and other resources.
 
 
Do you feel criminal victimization statistics for Native American Tribes are accurately represented in National Crime Statistics? Are people aware of the specific victimization issues? What can be done to assure that victims of crime in these areas receive the same amount of assistance as those elsewhere?
 
1.  Leslie A. Hagen
 NIJ also is conducting a number of other studies evaluating the effectiveness of federal, state, tribal, and local response to violence against Indian women in Indian Country. These studies include primary data collection of information related to violence against Native American women, secondary data analysis relating to crime rates and responses to crimes against Indian women, and special studies relating to victimization of AI&AN women. To date, NIJ has made significant progress in evaluating the effectiveness of federal responses to crimes committed against AI&AN women living in tribal communities.
 
2.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Prior to and during the development of the program of research, NIJ sought input and feedback from multiple sources including the Section 904 Task Force managed by OVW, prominent researchers and experts in the field, and federal stakeholders and partners.Additional information about the Task Force can be found at http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/section904-taskforce.html
 
3.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 4 - NIJ’s Violence Against Indian Women (VAIW) program of research is designed to: (1) provide an accurate reporting of violence against AI&AN women in tribal communities for the first time, (2) provide reliable valid estimates of the scope of the problem, and (3) identify problems and possible solutions in dealing with these issues that may lead to public policies and prevention strategies designed to decrease the incidence of violent crimes committed against AI&AN women. This will be the first national effort to collect information of this kind from American Indian and Alaska Native women living in Indian Country and Alaska Native communities.
 
4.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 3 - The purpose of the research program is to: examine violence against AI&AN women (including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and murder) and identify factors that place AI&AN women at risk for victimization; evaluate the effectiveness of federal, state, tribal, and local responses to violence against AI&AN women; and propose recommendations to improve effectiveness of these responses.
 
5.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 2 - The Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (Public Law Number 109-162), at Title IX, Section 904(a) (codified at 42 U.S.C. § 3796gg-10 note) mandates that the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in consultation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), conduct a national baseline study on violence against American Indian and Alaska Native (AI&AN) women living in tribal communities. As a result, NIJ has developed a research program consisting of multiple projects that will be accomplished over an extended period of time to address this much needed research that is broad in scope.
 
6.  Leslie A. Hagen
 This is another question that is going to require multiple posts to answer. Indian Country Crime statistics have been frequently underrepresented or mischaracterized. Congress, too, recognized this problem and sought to address it through Section 904 of VAWA 2005.
 
 
Have the crime rates decreased since the Tribal Law and Order Act was passed?
 
1.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 3 - TLOA has brought increased attention and focus on the crime problem in Indian Country. And, the last four years has seen increased federal resources dedicated to Indian Country. This type of focus can make victims more confident in reporting crimes to the police. Thus, it would not be unusual to see an increase in crime reported to law enforcement officials.
 
2.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 2 - A complete understanding of crime rates in Indian Country would require that all reported criminal offenses, whether reported to and/or filed with the tribal, state, or Federal government, be collectively assembled and analyzed. Today, no system exists that would permit collection and analysis of aggregate crime data across sovereigns.
 
3.  Leslie A. Hagen
 It is very difficult to quantify the level of crime in Indian Country. Because of the complex jurisdictional scheme, there is no single data system that collects information about crimes occurring in Indian Country. Indian Country case statistics can be drawn from three different jurisdictions: Federal, state, or tribal. It should also be noted that matters and cases from Public Law (P.L.) 280 jurisdictions do not generally appear in Federal Indian Country crime statistics because Federal authority to prosecute most cases in those jurisdictions has been transferred to the state.
 
 
Are there victim advocates associated with Tribal Courts? If so what is the greatest outcome for victims?
 
1.  Sylvia Struss
 Navajo and many other tribal courts have licensed Tribal Court Advocates--how one becomes licensed differs by court. In my experience, DV advocates are at the shelters, though, not at the courts; they can go to court, but can't advocate there unless they're licensed...
 
2.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 4 - another good place to check for tribal court resources is the BIA's Office of Justice Services website. (http://www.bia.gov/WhoWeAre/BIA/OJS/index.htm) Within OJS there is a specific tribal courts program run by Tricia Tingle, Associate Director for Division of Tribal Justice Support. Her email address is tricia.tingle@bia.gov. And, BIA also funds a victims advocates program. Information about the victim advocacy program can be found at this same website.
 
3.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 3 - For example, OVC established the AI/AN SANE–SART Initiative in 2010 to address the comprehensive needs of tribal victims of sexual violence, with the ultimate goal of institutionalizing sustainable and evidence-based practices that meet the needs of tribal communities. The link to more information about the program can be found at http://www.ovc.gov/AIANSane-Sart/index.html Another great website to get alot of good information about victim services in Indian Country is National Criminal Justice Reference Service https://www.ncjrs.gov/justiceinindiancountry/
 
4.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 2.DOJ's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) helps victims in Indian Country by providing much-needed resources, improving and increasing services, identifying promising practices, and adapting and replicating successful programs in tribal communities throughout the Nation. In addition, OVC collaborates with other federal agencies to fund demonstration programs that help tribes and tribal organizations serve victims more efficiently.
 
5.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Crime victims in Indian Country can access a victim advocate at multiple points in the criminal justice system. If the case is prosecuted federally the victim may be assigned to a victim witness specialist in the US Attorneys Office. In addition, the FBI's Office for Victim Assistance has Victim Specialist positions to provide victim assistance in Indian Country. The victim specialists have an invaluable role in Indian Country investigations, particularly in cases of domestic violence and child abuse, providing essential services and support.
 
 
How difficult is it for victims to get legal help (whether from courts, advocates, etc.)?
 
1.  Sylvia Struss
 There are legal aid organizations that serve low-income clients (and often have grants to serve victims of crime w/any income level) on the reservations. For example, DNA Legal Services in AZ, NM & UT got a grant to have DV attorneys with offices actually in the DV shelters!
 
2.  Leslie A. Hagen
 I think the answer to this one may depend on the location of the person seeking services and the type of assistance needed by the individual. Some parts of the country have more services, to include legal representation, available at reduced rates or perhaps even for free. For example, if a person needs help with getting a personal protection order, they may be able to get help from their local domestic violence or sexual assault service provider program. The folks working in these local programs are frequently an invaluable source of referrals to local services and attorneys that may be able to assist. And, many of these local programs also have people on staff that can provide assistance.
 
 
What is the greatest need for working with this population?
 
 
Do you think it is a good idea that lawmakers should give tribal police full police power? would it help decrease crime on reservations? or help develop more civil crimes on reservations?
 
1.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 3 The tribal provisions in the Act would address three legal gaps by: (1) recognizing certain tribes’ power to exercise concurrent criminal jurisdiction over domestic violence cases, regardless of whether the defendant is Indian or non-Indian; (2) clarifying that tribal courts have full civil jurisdiction to issue and enforce protection orders involving any persons, Indian or non-Indian; and (3) creating new federal crimes for serious cases of violence, like strangulation, committed against a spouse or intimate partner and providing more robust federal sentences for certain acts of domestic violence in Indian Country.
 
2.  Leslie A. Hagen
 Part 2 This proposed legislation is included as tribal provisions in the current pending legislation that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and was passed by the Senate on April 26, 2012.
 
3.  Leslie A. Hagen
 I am assuming that this question references the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. In July 2011, the Department of Justice proposed legislation that would significantly improve the safety of Native women and allow federal and tribal law enforcement agencies to hold more perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their crimes.
 
 
what is the most used excuse when crimes are committed against indians and they do not report it? is it a conflict of trusting police? knowing the police? not feeling safe?...
 
1.  Brandy
 I concur that response time is part of the problem. I also think that sometimes there are jurisdictional issues that come up so then when the person has an issue that wouldn't have jurisdictional issues they don't want to call because they feel they won't get the response they deserve.
 
2.  Sylvia Struss
 In my experience, it's 2 things: 1. the reservations are huge, and it can take an hour or more for police just to get to a victim. 2. perpetrators are not prosecuted very effectively, and so I think victims think "what's the point?"
 
 
As the DOJ first National Indian Country Coordinator,having 20 years of experience in developing and coordinating training's. What would you state is the most difficult point to set when working with victims of domestic violence? How do you explain to them the difference between traditional culture with men and abuse of men?
 
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