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No tribes are taking advantage of expanded criminal sentencing

Tribes so far aren't taking advantage of expanded criminal sentencing under the Tribal Law and Order Act, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

The law allows tribes to sentence offenders to terms of up to three years. To do so, tribes must meet certain requirements, such as recording criminal proceedings and providing indigent defendants with an attorney.

But in the two years since the bill became law, none of the 109 tribes who responded to a survey were exercising the expanded authority. Only about a third were moving in that direction, while another third weren't sure and the remaining third didn't plan on doing so at all.

Tribes cited inadequate funding as a major roadblock in exercising the sentencing authority. The GAO report said the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Indian Affairs could help tribes with funding and technical assistance.

Get the Story:
GAO report shows funding remains challenge to tribes considering more jail time for criminals (AP 5/30)

GAO Report:
None of the Surveyed Tribes Reported Exercising the New Sentencing Authority, and the Department of Justice Could Clarify Tribal Eligibility for Certain Grant Funds (GAO-12-658R, May 30, 2012)
Surveys of Grant Recipients, Select Tribes, and Indigent Defense Providers (GAO-12-661SP, May 30, 2012)

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