WASHINGTON D.C –
In a bill making its way through Congress, U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) today secured an increased investment in two critical safety and justice programs for Indian Country.
Dorgan, Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured $25 million to fund public safety and justice programs as authorized by the Emergency Fund for Indian Safety and Health. He also secured an additional $25 million to finance public safety and justice construction projects. These funds will help to address the public safety crisis in Indian Country. The funding is in the FY 2010 Interior Appropriations bill, which was approved by the Appropriations Committee today.
The $50 million secured by Dorgan will begin to address the lack of staff and resources to arrest, prosecute, and detain criminals in Indian Country as well as provide funds for construction projects related to public safety. American Indians experience violent crime at a rate more than twice the national average, yet funding for law enforcement in Indian Country is seriously deficient, and contributes to serious public safety risks.
“This nation’s Indian reservations are suffering from a public safety crisis, where there is a lack of resources and manpower to keep the reservations safe,” said Dorgan. “We have a long way to go in improving the safety of Indian Country, but this funding is an important step to provide resources and address the crisis.”