► The recent reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (P.L. 113-4) includes a provision that expands grants for combating violent crimes on college campuses. The grants provide for educational materials to address prevention and intervention in domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking and to develop or adapt population-specific strategies for victims of domestic violence and violent sex crimes for underserved populations on campus. The new law also expands requirements for the disclosure of campus security policy and crime statistics by institutions of higher education. Campuses are also required to implement education programs that promote awareness of rape and other violent sex crimes, disclose disciplinary proceedings involving rape and other violent sex crimes and the standard of evidence that will govern such proceedings, and establish procedures to protect the rights and confidentiality of accusers and the accused in disciplinary proceedings.
► According to an article in The New York Times, a new study by the Pennsylvania corrections department finds that former criminals released to halfway houses actually fare worse than those released directly back into society. Experts were shocked to find that inmates who spent time in halfway houses were more likely to return to crime than those who did not.
► A bill (S. 445) that would upgrade security equipment in state and local courthouses has been introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Identical to a bill Sen. Franken introduced in the last congressional session, S. 445 would allow state and local governments to use various federal grant programs to improve security at courthouses. The bill would also direct the government to ensure that state and local jurisdictions can request any extra security equipment purchased by the government before that equipment is given to other organizations. Such equipment would include metal detectors, wands, and baggage screening devices. The bill stipulates that the priority would be given to courthouses that have no security equipment.