The Rise and Fall of LEAA

Ted Gest

in Crime and Politics

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195103434
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833887 | DOI:
The Rise and Fall of LEAA

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A major federal anticrime agency had its roots in an Office of Law Enforcement Assistance established in the presidency of Lyndon Johnson. The agency was enacted into law in a wide‐ranging crime law enacted in 1968. Its name was changed to the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA); its purpose was to distribute federal aid to state and local criminal justice programs. But Congress ordered the agency to be headed by an unwieldy troika of administrators. A succession of leaders over a decade frequently changed policy directions, setting an erratic course while spending almost $1 billion annually in some years. The agency funded some pioneering programs, such as units in prosecutors’ offices to help crime victims and witnesses. Eventually, however, its programs lacked sufficient proof of significant impact on the crime problem or the justice system. President Jimmy Carter proposed its elimination in 1980 and Congress agreed.

Keywords: Jimmy Carter; Congress; crime victims; criminal justice; federal aid; Lyndon Johnson; LEAA; Office of Law Enforcement Assistance; policy direction; witnesses

Chapter.  10768 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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