The Crime Bill
Key Provisions of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
Title I. Public Safety and Policing
Authorized hiring and training of additional police officers to adopt community policing strategies and innovative crime prevention programs and technologies.
Title II. Prisons
Provided grants to states for truth-in-sentencing provisions; to improve correctional facilities and develop alternatives, such as boot camps; to incarcerate violent offenders; to develop alternatives to traditional incarceration and probation for young offenders; and to compensate states for incarcerating undocumented immigrants. In addition, Title II required prison impact assessments for legislation that could increase or decrease the number of prisoners in federal facilities; expanded good-time credits for federal prisoners; authorized an evaluation of prison education programs; prohibited federal courts from declaring prison overcrowding unconstitutional unless a plaintiff shows that overcrowding caused cruel and unusual punishment of that plaintiff; prohibited Pell Grants for federal and state prisoners; authorized drug testing of federal offenders on post-conviction release; and encouraged job training and placement for federal and state prisoners and ex-prisoners.
Title III. Crime Prevention
Authorized block grants for crime prevention and recreational programs focusing on at-risk youth; prohibited discrimination by local governments receiving crime prevention funds; provided grants for community-based prosecution programs that identify, speed the prosecution of, and offer non-criminal alternatives for young violent offenders; provided grants to expand drug treatment in federal prisons and residential treatment programs in state and local correctional facilities; and established
Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) projects.
Title IV. Violence Against Women
Increased penalties for sexual abuse; permitted courts to order mandatory restitution for victims of sexual abuse; made grants to strengthen law enforcement and prosecution strategies to combat violence against women and provide services to victims; restricted use of evidence in legal proceedings concerning the sexual behavior of victims of sex crimes; expanded assistance to victims of sexual assault; provided grant funds to establish a national domestic hotline for victims of domestic violence; increased penalties for interstate domestic violence and violations of protection orders; provided grants to encourage mandatory and pro-arrest policies for domestic violence; increased funding for domestic violence shelters; requested the National Academy of Science to develop a research agenda on violence against women; established a federal civil rights cause of action for victims of crimes motivated by gender; and enhanced protections for battered immigrant women and children.
Title V. Drug Courts
Provided grants to states and localities to establish and maintain drug courts for nonviolent offenders.
Title VI. Death Penalty
Expanded the federal death penalty to cover 60 offenses, including terrorist homicides, murder of a federal law enforcement officer, large-scale drug trafficking, drive-by-shootings, and carjackings resulting in death.
Title VII. Mandatory Life Imprisonment for Persons Convicted of Certain Felonies
Required mandatory life imprisonment for persons convicted of a violent felony or serious drug offense who were convicted on separate prior occasions of two or more violent felonies or one or more violent felonies and one or more serious drug offenses (federal “three-strikes” law).
Title VIII. Applicability of Mandatory Minimum Penalties in Certain Cases
Permitted federal courts to avoid otherwise applicable mandatory minimum sentences if the defendant did not have more than one criminal history point as determined under sentencing guidelines; did not use or induce others to use violence, a firearm or other dangerous weapon in the offense; was not an “organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor” of others in the offense; and the offense was not part of a continuing criminal enterprise and did not result in death or serious bodily injury.
Title XI. Firearms
Prohibited manufacture, sale, and possession of semiautomatic firearms and large capacity ammunition feeding devices, except for those legally possessed by the date of enactment; prohibited sale or transfer of handguns to persons under age 18; required a photograph and fingerprints to obtain a federal firearms license; prohibited firearm possession by persons under court order for domestic abuse; and enhanced penalties for firearm use in selected crimes.
Title XIV. Youth Violence
Permitted prosecution as adults of juveniles age 13 and older charged with a violent offense and increased penalties for persons employing juveniles to distribute illegal drugs near schools and playgrounds or for soliciting a minor to commit crime.
Title XVII. Crimes Against Children
Required persons convicted of a crime against a minor or a crime of sexual violence to register with a designated state law enforcement authority and increased penalties for assaults against minors under the age of 16.
Title XXI. State and Local Law Enforcement
Extended Byrne grant funding; increased funding to improve DNA analysis; declared as unlawful actions by law enforcement and other criminal justice authorities that deprive persons of the rights, privileges, or immunities guaranteed by the Constitution or laws of the United States; required that the Attorney General compile data on the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers; authorized grants for computer automation and other technological improvements in criminal justice agencies.
Title XXIII. Victims of Crime
Gave victims of a violent crime or sexual abuse the right to speak at an offender’s sentencing hearing and any parole hearing; established a crime victim’s compensation fund.
Title XXVIII. Sentencing
Issued directions to the U.S. Sentencing Commission regarding sentencing enhancements for hate crimes; required the U.S. Sentencing Commission to submit a report with recommendations to Congress on the different sentencing levels for different forms of cocaine.
Other Titles of the Crime Bill
- increased funding for hiring and training law enforcement officers in rural areas;
- increased funding for the federal judiciary, Department of Justice, FBI, and Department of the Treasury;
- increased penalties for drunk driving resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of a minor or if a minor was present in the motor vehicle when the offense was committed;
- established the Police Corps and scholarships to increase the number of police officers with higher education;
- increased penalties for illegal drug use and drug trafficking in federal prisons and drug trafficking in drug-free zones;
- extended the statute of limitation for certain terrorism offenses and increased penalties for providing material support to terrorists;
- enhanced penalties for gang-related crimes and made grant funding available for gang prevention programs;
- prohibited importation of child pornography and encouraged states to enact legislation prohibiting the production, distribution, or possession of materials involving persons under the age of 18;
- increased penalties for departing or reentering the United States after a final deportation order and authorized improved border controls;
- enhanced penalties for crimes against the elderly; authorized new or enhanced penalties for computer crimes; prohibited release and use of certain information from state motor vehicle records; and created the Violent Crime Reduction Trust fund.