Studies suggest that crime rates are much higher for Native Americans compared with the national average. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, American Indians (AI) and Alaska Natives (AN) experience violent crimes at rates far greater than the general population (Tribal Crime and Justice, National Institute of Justice, Retrieved on February 28, 2013).
In June 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder launched a department-wide initiative within the U.S. Department of Justice to enhance public safety in Indian County. Significant progress has been made since then including enhanced prosecution and training efforts; implementation of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 (TLOA); grant opportunities; general litigation; civil rights; and outreach and consultation (Indian Country Accomplishments of the Justice Department, 2009-Present, U.S. Department of Justice, Retrieved September 5, 2012). Specifically, TLOA has enhanced the ability of the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute crimes in Indian Country, strengthened law enforcement capabilities across relevant jurisdictions, and brought a wide - and expanding - array of local stakeholders to the discussion table. It also has established new channels for communication and cooperation between tribal authorities and federal agencies (Attorney General Speaks at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, U.S. Department of Justice, July 28, 2011).
In September 2013, the Department of Justice announced the awarding of more than $90 million to American Indian and Alaska Native communities to enhance law enforcement practices and sustain crime prevention and intervention efforts. The awards are made under the Department's Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), a consolidated tribal-specific grant program (Department of Justice Coordinated Tribal Assistance SolicitationFY 13 Combined Award List, Retrieved September 26, 2013). The Department of Justice's Tribal Justice and Safety Web site is continually updated with news and information about these and other Justice efforts targeting tribal communities.
To learn more about crime and justice issues facing tribal communities, please select a page from the below listing or from the box at the right under the "Justice in Indian Country" heading: