Issue: Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act
The legislation may place additional responsibilities on courts.
Courts are uniquely positioned to identify this crime and help victims. Work to improve education/training among courts and other stakeholders (CCJ/COSCA Resolution 16 M 12)
A number of bills have been introduced in the House and Senate during the 114th Congress, which aim to further curb the growth of human trafficking. A comprehensive bill, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (S. 178) was introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). Some of the provisions of the final negotiated bill follow.
The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 is amended to authorize DOJ to give preferential consideration of public safety and COPS grant program grant applications from states that have in effect a law that: (1) provides a process by which a human trafficking survivor can move to vacate any arrest or conviction records for a non-violent offense committed as a direct result of human trafficking, including prostitution or lewdness; (2) establishes a rebuttable presumption that any arrest or conviction of an individual for a human trafficking offense is a result of being trafficked if such individual has been granted nonimmigrant status as a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons, is certified by HHS as a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons or has other similar documentation of trafficking; (3) protects the identify of individuals who are human trafficking survivors in public and court records; and (4) does not require an individual who is a human trafficking survivor to provide official documentation in order to receive protection under the law.
On 4/ 22/15, the Senate approved S. 178 by a 99-0 vote. On 5/1/15 the House passed S. 178 by a vote of 430-3. The President signed the bill into law on 5/29/15. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is now Public Law No: 114-022. S. 1311 and S. 1312 have been introduced that would reauthorize programs under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2013 (PL 113-4).
We are trying to clarify that courts are eligible entities to receive funding under this law.