Durbin, Specter Bill Seeks to Get Fugitives Off the Street
[Washington, D.C.] - Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin
(D-IL.) and Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA), have introduced legislation
that seeks to increase the number of State and local fugitives who are
arrested and prosecuted. The Fugitive Information Networked Database
Act of 2010 (FIND Act) is designed to coordinate state and local data
on warrants into the national database, increase the number of
extraditions of fugitives caught in other states and to ascertain
whether pretrial release programs are operating effectively.
“Our bill addresses the serious problems we face bringing fugitives to justice. It will give law enforcement agencies the resources to protect innocent civilians by ensuring that fugitives are arrested and detained even if they cross state lines,” Durbin said. “We simply cannot afford to have millions of charged felons at-large in our communities.”
“Letting wanted criminals remain on the loose is an enormous problem for our criminal justice system,” Specter said. “It’s a glaring omission not to register fugitives in the national database system and, for every day that goes by, there's additional risk to the public of being further victimized by these fugitives, some of them violent criminals."
There are an estimated 2.7 million outstanding felony warrants in the U.S. because law enforcement authorities lack the resources to find and arrest these fugitives. What’s more, the nation-wide database operated by the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) is missing data for over half of these felony warrants, including those for violent crimes.
The FIND Act, based on legislation that then-Senator Joe Biden and Senator Durbin introduced in 2008, seeks to bolster the effectiveness of the NCIC database by providing grants for local governments to develop and implement warrant systems that are interoperable with the NCIC database. The bill would also provide funding for authorities to extradite fugitives for prosecution.
The FIND Act would:
- Improve the entry and validation of State warrants in the NCIC database by authorizing $10 million for grants each fiscal year 2011 through 2015;
- Increase for State and Indian tribes the resources available for extraditing fugitives between States and Indian territories by authorizing $30 million for grants each fiscal year 2011 through 2015;
- Encourage States to reduce the cost of extradition by using the U.S. Marshal’s Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation Service (“JPATS”) to transport fugitives back to the jurisdiction which issued the warrant;
- Require grant participants which seek renewal grants to provide detailed reports to ascertain whether State and local pretrial release programs are operating effectively; and
- Direct the Comptroller General to submit a statistical report to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on felony warrants issued by state, local, and tribal governments and entered into the NCIC database and on the apprehension and extradition of persons with active felony warrants.
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