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Crime Prevention and Tribal Justice Systems

Date Published
February 20, 2013

NIJ-funded research on crime prevention and tribal justice systems has revealed the following findings about key tribal justice programs or approaches.

Service, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors (STOP) programs. An evaluation of STOP programs, which are designed to prevent violence toward American Indian and Alaska Native women, found that despite differences in location, culture and law, all successful programs used a coordinated, communitywide approach to address violence. The researchers provided recommendations for tribal courts, communities and victim advocacy services. Read an abstract and access the full report.

Tribal Strategies Against Violence. An evaluation of the Bureau of Justice Assistance's Tribal Strategies Against Violence (TSAV) program found that the TSAV model is not viable. TSAV was designed to empower tribal nations to identify and address crime, violence, substance abuse and other community problems. The model provides a number of short-term crime reduction strategies but is not culturally relevant or appropriate. Read an abstract and access the full report.

Indian Country Justice Initiative. Designed to address crime and justice issues in the Laguna and Northern Cheyenne reservations, the Indian Country Justice Initiative has begun to improve safety and quality of life for these tribes. Researchers identified challenges associated with the initiative:

  • Gaps in coordination at the federal level.
  • Delayed implementation due to grant funding issues.
  • Agreement problems between some of the tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Read an abstract and access the full report.

CIRCLE Project. An evaluation reported successes of the U.S. Department of Justice's Comprehensive Indian Resources for the Community and Law Enforcement (CIRCLE) Project:

  • The Pueblo of Zuni have advanced their information management system and improved agency services.
  • The Northern Cheyenne have begun to develop a tribal Department of Justice and have strengthened their court system and youth outreach program.
  • The Oglala Sioux have assessed how to incorporate their local culture when developing plans for their criminal justice system.

Evaluators found that the CIRCLE Project has successfully helped tribes improve their criminal justice systems and has improved the relationship between tribal nations and the federal government. Learn more about the findings from the CIRCLE Project evaluation.

Evaluating drug and alcohol prevention programs. Evaluations of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe's Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Project and the Lummi Indian Nation's Community Mobilization Against Drugs Initiative assessed the innovative approaches each tribe implemented to reduce crime associated with alcohol and drug use and distribution. Each evaluation helped determine whether the programs successfully reached their stated goals and whether other tribal nations facing similar public safety issues could benefit from the program's model.

Read an abstract and access the final report for Participatory Evaluation of the Sisseton Wahepton Oyate IASAP Demonstration Project.

Read an abstract and access the final report for Participatory Evaluation of the Lummi Nation's Community Mobilization Against Drugs Initiative/Bureau of Justice Assistance's Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Demonstration Project.

Date Published: February 20, 2013