Presentation Title

A Broken Justice System: Examining the Impact of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and Public Law 280

Faculty Mentor

Ken Miller

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:00 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 2:15 PM

Location

15-1814

Session

Social Science 4

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

The Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) was passed by Congress in 2010 in an attempt to revitalize tribal justice systems for the first time since the 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA). Provisions in ICRA related to justice reforms were particularly ineffective in increasing tribal sovereignty and decreasing crime. Despite the good intentions of TLOA, however, there have been two major flaws in the act thus far. First, there is a lack of funding and cultural sensitivity for enforcing the provisions of the act. Second, in states that have been given jurisdiction over tribal affairs instead of the federal government, there is huge confusion over jurisdictional issues; critics claim that TLOA has actually created even more confusion. California, as one of these states, is the perfect case study to examine the impact TLOA has had on tribal justice systems. The main goal of this research is to compile crime statistics for California Native American reservations with independent justice systems using data provided by county sheriff’s departments and analyze the implications of these data. While it is difficult to isolate a single causal mechanism for increased or decreased crime rates from crime statistics alone, they are still a useful research tool that have not been compiled into a comprehensive list anywhere else.

Summary of research results to be presented

While the achievements of the Tribal Law and Order Act are not to be undercut, considerably more information needs to be known about the implementation of the Act within California. California’s designation as a P.L. 280 state sets it apart from most other states, and thus requires special treatment. It is a state with a high Native American population but very little is known about the effects of TLOA on crime. Rough approximations have been made, but the data is desperately in need of updating since the passage of the Act. This project’s research focused on contacting county sheriff’s departments and compiling crime data specific to California Native American reservations with independent justice systems, including tribes with their own court or police department. While in several different categories of crime there were few appreciable decreases in crime rates (and in some instances, there were even slight increases in crimes), there are several reasons why this may have been the case. First, increased crime reporting requirement as a result of the requirements of TLOA may have caused the appearance of increased crime, as opposed to an actual increase. Second, more crimes may be prosecuted under the new laws, again creating the semblance of increased crime. Finally, it is possible that there are confounding variables causing an increase in crime other than the Tribal Law and Order Act.

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Nov 18th, 2:00 PM Nov 18th, 2:15 PM

A Broken Justice System: Examining the Impact of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and Public Law 280

15-1814

The Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) was passed by Congress in 2010 in an attempt to revitalize tribal justice systems for the first time since the 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA). Provisions in ICRA related to justice reforms were particularly ineffective in increasing tribal sovereignty and decreasing crime. Despite the good intentions of TLOA, however, there have been two major flaws in the act thus far. First, there is a lack of funding and cultural sensitivity for enforcing the provisions of the act. Second, in states that have been given jurisdiction over tribal affairs instead of the federal government, there is huge confusion over jurisdictional issues; critics claim that TLOA has actually created even more confusion. California, as one of these states, is the perfect case study to examine the impact TLOA has had on tribal justice systems. The main goal of this research is to compile crime statistics for California Native American reservations with independent justice systems using data provided by county sheriff’s departments and analyze the implications of these data. While it is difficult to isolate a single causal mechanism for increased or decreased crime rates from crime statistics alone, they are still a useful research tool that have not been compiled into a comprehensive list anywhere else.