Recent Press Releases

Thune Introduces Measure to Combat Reservation Crime

Amendment Would Boost Funding for Tribal Police and Federal Prosecutors

March 12, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution under consideration before the U.S. Senate. The amendment seeks additional funding for police and prosecutors to address the growing problem of crime on American Indian reservations.

"Crimes on the reservations continue to increase at an alarming rate." Thune said. "The message from Indian Country is loud and clear, tribal communities want justice. I am hopeful that my amendment will be another way to raise awareness about this problem to my colleagues in the Senate as we work to find solutions."

Thune's amendment would provide an additional $200 million in budget authority over the next five years to (1) increase the Bureau of Indian Affair's Public Safety and Justice Account, which funds tribal law enforcement, tribal court systems, and tribal detention centers, by $25 million a year for the next five years; and (2) increase funding for U.S. Attorneys to prosecute crimes in Indian Country by $15 million a year for the next five years.

"It is critical that we act now to help restore the basic levels of public safety and security in Indian Country," Thune said.

If Senator Thune's amendment is adopted as part of the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget, it would allow Congress to increase funding for tribal police officers and federal prosecutors as part of the Fiscal Year 2009 Appropriation cycle.

Last month, the U.S. Senate also passed S. 1200, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which included Senator Thune's amendment to require a Government Accountability Office study of the tribal justice systems of North and South Dakota.