|Indian Country Today interviews former U.S. Attorney Troy Eid, the chairman of the Indian Law and Order
Commission, about recommendations to improve the justice system in Indian Country:
Explain how the commission and report came to be.
The commission was created in 2010 by the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act. There are nine of us who served without compensation who were appointed by the president, the majority, and the minority leadership in Congress. We had a very active and energetic group of people. The feedback we got when we submitted our report to Congress was very positive. Some there told us they expected it to be maybe 20 pages. It ended up being 324 pages. We benefitted from the low expectations of our era. [Laughs] In all seriousness, it’s the most comprehensive report on this topic since the Meriam Report, and that was deliberately our goal. Not since 1928 had there been an attempt to really try to drill into this area. We also committed ourselves early on to not just kicking the can down the road. We felt very strongly that just framing the problem was not going to be very useful. That’s why we have 40 substantive recommendations. We did not flinch from the hard issues.
Out of those 40 recommendations, what would you say the priorities should be?
While it’s tempting to say all of the report is important, the juvenile justice part is new. Native American juvenile justice issues have not been the focus of a comprehensive federal report since 1938. The worst features of Indian country jurisprudence and criminal justice are magnified in the juvenile context. The current system is indefensible, so we really drilled into it in both Indian country and Public Law 280 states. It just really can’t be sustained the way that it is. It’s really fertile ground for legislation.
Get the Story:
Troy Eid on Why Tribes Need Control Over Their Justice Systems
(Indian Country Today 1/23)
Indian Law and Order Commission Report:
A Roadmap For
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