Congressional Research Service Reports - 74 Matching Results

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In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Dismissals of Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)
This report summarizes the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and jurisdiction in cases against foreign defendants and analyzes the recent court of appeals decision. This report examines the legal bases for those dismissals.
Is This the First Step in Undoing Mass Incarceration? 6,000 Federal Drug Offenders Set to be Released
In early November, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is scheduled to release approximately 6,000 federal inmates convicted of drug trafficking offenses. This report briefly examines the background of this release and its potential effects.
Sudan: The Darfur Crisis and the Status of the North-South Negotiations
No Description Available.
Polygraph Use by the Department of Energy: Issues for Congress
This report examines how the Department of Energy's (DOE) polygraph testing program has evolved and reviews certain scientific findings with regard to the polygraph's scientific validity. Several issues include whether: DOE's new screening program is focused on an appropriate number of individuals occupying only the most sensitive positions; the program should be expanded in order to adequately safeguard certain classified information; further research into the polygraph's scientific validity is needed; there are possible alternatives to the polygraph; and whether DOE should continue polygraph screening.
Missing Adults: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress
The first section of this report discusses demographics and record keeping of missing adults and unidentified remains, and some of the factors that may contribute to the disappearance of adults. This section also discusses federally funded databases that are used to track data on missing adults and unidentified individuals. The second section of the report describes the federal programs and initiatives to assist in locating missing adults, including funding data for FY2002 through FY2008, where applicable.
Botswana: The San (Bushmen) Rights Case
This report discusses the case of San people of Botswana against the government of Botswana.
Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity
This report discusses the potential immigration consequences of criminal activity. “Criminal activity” generally refers to conduct for which an alien has been found or plead guilty before a court of law, though in limited circumstances consequences may attach to the commission of a crime or admission of acts constituting the essential elements of a crime. Consequences may flow from violations of either federal, state or, in many circumstances, foreign criminal law. Some federal crimes are set out in the INA itself — alien smuggling, for example. However, not all violations of immigration law are crimes. Notably, being in the U.S. without legal permission — i.e., being an “illegal alien” — is not a crime in and of itself. Thus, for example, an alien who overstays a student visa may be an “illegal alien,” in that the alien may be subject to removal from the U.S., but such an alien is not a “criminal alien.”
Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity
Congress has the authority to determine classes of aliens who may be admitted into the United States and the grounds for which they may be removed. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, certain conduct may either disqualify an alien from entering the United States ("inadmissibility") or provide grounds for his or her removal/deportation. Prominently included among this conduct is criminal activity. This report explores this issue in-depth, especially the difference between the terms "illegal alien" and "criminal alien" and relevant legislation.
Federal Grand Juries: The Law in a Nutshell
This report discusses the history and current role of the federal grand jury in the American criminal justice system. The federal grand jury exists to investigate crimes against the United States and to secure the constitutional right of grand jury indictment. Its responsibilities require broad powers. As an arm of the United States District Court which summons it, upon whose process it relies, and which will receive any indictments it returns, the grand jury's subject matter and geographical jurisdiction is that of the court to which it is attached.
Aiding, Abetting, and the Like: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2
This report discuses the issues that virtually every federal criminal statute has a hidden feature; helpers and hands-on offenders face the same punishment. This results from 18 U.S.C. 2, which visits the same consequences on anyone who orders or assists in the commission of a federal crime.
Sexual Violence at Institutions of Higher Education
Currently, there are two federal laws that address sexual violence on college campuses: the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act, P.L. 101-542) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX, P.L. 92-318). Following a discussion exploring the prevalence of sexual violence at IHEs, this report provides a detailed policy and legal analysis of these two statutes, as well as a brief description of a third statute related to educational privacy. The report concludes with a summary of the steps that have been taken by Congress and the Administration to address campus sexual violence.
Cybercrime: A Sketch of 18 U.S.C. 1030 and Related Federal Criminal Laws
This report discusses the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, which is a cyber security law that outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers connected to the Internet by shielding them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud.
Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System
This report provides information on the use of risk and needs assessment in the criminal justice system. It starts with an overview of risk and needs assessment and a discussion of some of the critiques of it. The report concludes with a discussion of the issues policymakers might consider if they debate legislation to expand the use of risk and needs assessment in the federal prison system.
U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation Following "El Chapo" Guzmán's Escape
This report discusses U.S.-Mexican security cooperation in the wake of the escape of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán on July 11, 2015, from a maximum security federal prison near Mexico City.
The Crime Victims Fund: Federal Support for Victims of Crime
This report provides background and funding information for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) programs and the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). It describes the process through which CVF funds are allocated and explains how the CVF impacts the annual budget for DOJ. It then provides an analysis of selected issues that Congress may consider regarding the CVF and the federal budget.
Backlog of Sexual Assault Evidence: In Brief
This report provides background on the sexual assault kit (SAKs, also referred to as "rape kits") backlog and information on federal efforts to reduce it. The backlog of SAKs has raised concerns over justice for assault victims and that additional victimizations could have been prevented had the evidence from any given kit been tested and the perpetrator apprehended in a timely manner.
Federal Crime Control: Background, Legislation, and Issues
This report discusses the prevention and control of domestic crime, which has traditionally been a responsibility of state and local governments, with the federal government playing more of a supportive role.
Hate Crime Legislation
This report provides an overview of the hate crime debate, with background on current law and hate crime statistics, and a legislative history of hate crime prevention bills in recent Congresses. This report does not analyze the constitutional or other legal issues that often arise as part of the hate crime debate.
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment
Controversy has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with U.S. statutes and treaties such as the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Congress approved additional guidelines concerning the treatment of detainees via the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), which was enacted pursuant to both the Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006 (P.L. 109-148), and the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-163). Among other things, the DTA contains provisions that (1) require Department of Defense (DOD) personnel to employ United States Army Field Manual guidelines while interrogating detainees, and (2) prohibit the “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment of persons under the detention, custody, or control of the United States Government.” These provisions of the DTA, which were first introduced by Senator John McCain, have popularly been referred to as the “McCain Amendment.” This report discusses the McCain Amendment, as modified and subsequently enacted into law.
Trying Terrorists as War Criminals
No Description Available.
Crime Control: Administration and Congressional Initiatives
The Reagan Administration announced its major crime Control proposals in 1981, shortly after the final report from the Attorney General's Task Force on Violent Crimes, and reiterated support for significant changes in Crime control legislation in 1983. Congressional initiatives and modifications of those proposals continue interest and controversy in crime control matters in the 98th Congress.
Latin America: Terrorism Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy
No Description Available.
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment
Controversy has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with related U.S. statutes and treaties. Certain provisions of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), first introduced by Senator John McCain, have popularly been referred to as the "McCain Amendment." This report discusses the McCain amendment and also discusses the application of the McCain Amendment by the DOD in the updated 2006 version of the Army Field Manual.
Gun Control Legislation in the 107th Congress
No Description Available.
DNA Testing for Law Enforcement: Legislative Issues for Congress
DNA evidence is a powerful forensic tool in criminal cases. Its use and capabilities have increased substantially since it was first introduced in the late 1980s. That growth has led to the emergence of the following issues that were considered by the 106th Congress in legislative initiatives: eliminating the nationwide backlog of unanalyzed DNA samples, expanding the kinds of offenders who are profiled, providing opportunities for post-conviction testing of DNA evidence, and continuing development of forensic science capabilities. This report discusses those and related issues and the legislation proposed and enacted to address them. It begins by describing provisions in prior federal law and then discusses issues and the legislation proposed, including the enacted DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 (H.R. 4640, which became P.L. 106-546).
Operation Enduring Freedom: Foreign Pledges of Military and Intelligence Support
No Description Available.
Terrorism Funding: FY2002 Appropriations Bills
No Description Available.
Polygraph Use by the Department of Energy: Issues for Congress
No Description Available.
Gangs in Central America
This report describes the gang problem in Central America, discusses country approaches to deal with the gangs, and analyzes U.S. policy with respect to gangs in Central America.
Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic
This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under the following cybersecurity topics: policy overview; National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC); cloud computing and FedRAMP; critical infrastructure; cybercrime, data breaches and data security; national security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet); international efforts; education/training/workforce; and research and development (R&D).
Is Violent Crime in the United States Increasing?
Overall, homicide and violent crime rates have been trending downward for more than two decades, and both rates are at historic lows. An analysis comparing 2014 and 2015 homicide data from the nation's 60 most populous cities suggests that violent crime is not increasing. This report discusses several short-term factors that might help explain some of the reported upticks in violent crime across the country.
Sentencing Reform: Comparison of Selected Proposals
This report is a comparison of selected criminal sentencing reform bills as introduced: H.R. 3713, H.R. 2944, S. 502, and H.R. 920; and S. 2123 as passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee with a manager's amendment).
Sentence Reform Acts: S.2123 and H.R. 3713
This report discusses the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, S. 2123, and the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, H.R. 3713, use virtually identical language to reduce the impact of the mandatory minimum sentences which federal courts must now impose for certain drug trafficking and firearms offenses.
Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA): Background and Funding
This report provides an overview of the federal response to domestic violence--defined broadly to include acts of physical and nonphysical violence against spouses and other intimate partners--through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA).
Clean Water Act and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of Pollutants
This report discusses the section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, which requires states to identify waters that are impaired by pollution, even after application of pollution controls. For those waters, states must establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants to ensure that water quality standards can be attained. Implementation of this provision has been dormant until recently, when states and EPA were prodded by numerous lawsuits. The TMDL issue has become controversial, in part because of requirements and costs now facing states to implement a 25-year-old provision of the law. Congressional activity to reauthorize the Act, a possibility in the 2nd Session of the 105th Congress, could include TMDL issues, but the direction for any such action is unclear at this time.
Race-Based Civil Dentention for Security Purposes
No Description Available.
Drug Control: International Policy and Approaches
Over the past decade, worldwide production of illicit drugs has risen dramatically: opium and marijuana production has roughly doubled and coca production tripled. Street prices of cocaine and heroin have fallen significantly in the past 20 years, reflecting increased availability. Despite apparent national political resolve to deal with the drug problem, inherent contradictions regularly appear between U.S. anti-drug policy and other national policy goals and concerns. The mix of competing domestic and international pressures and priorities has produced an ongoing series of disputes within and between the legislative and executive branches concerning U.S. international drug policy. One contentious issue has been the Congressionally-mandated certification process, an instrument designed to induce specified drug-exporting countries to prioritize or pay more attention to the fight against narcotics businesses.
Terrorism and National Security: Issues and Trends
No Description Available.
Terrorism and National Security: Issues and Trends
No Description Available.
Terrorism, the Media, and the Government: Perspectives, Trends, and Options for Policymakers
No Description Available.
Drug Control: International Policy and Approaches
Over the past decade, worldwide production of illicit drugs has risen dramatically: opium and marijuana production has roughly doubled and coca production tripled. Street prices of cocaine and heroin have fallen significantly in the past 20 years, reflecting increased availability. Despite apparent national political resolve to deal with the drug problem, inherent contradictions regularly appear between U.S. anti-drug policy and other national policy goals and concerns. The mix of competing domestic and international pressures and priorities has produced an ongoing series of disputes within and between the legislative and executive branches concerning U.S. international drug policy. One contentious issue has been the Congressionally-mandated certification process, an instrument designed to induce specified drug-exporting countries to prioritize or pay more attention to the fight against narcotics businesses.
Child Pornography: Constitutional Principles and Federal Statutes
The Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996, P.L. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009- 26, added a definition of “child pornography” that include visual depictions of what appears to be a minor engaging in explicit sexual conduct, even if no actual minor was used in producing the depiction. On April 16, 2002, in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, the Supreme Court held this provision unconstitutional to the extent that it prohibited pictures that were not produced with actual minors. (This case is discussed under “Section 2256,” below.) In response to Ashcroft, bills were introduced in the House and Senate that would continue to ban some child pornography that was produced without an actual minor; on June 25, 2002, the House passed one such bill: H.R. 4623, 107th Congress.
Violence Against Women Act: History, Federal Funding, and Reauthorizing Legislation
No Description Available.
War on Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments
No Description Available.
Juvenile Delinquents and Federal Criminal Law: The Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act and Related Matters
No Description Available.
War on Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments
No Description Available.
China's Relations with Central Asian States and Problems with Terrorism
This report provides an overview of the Muslim separatist movement in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China’s attempts to stifle activities which it considers terrorism, and implications for U.S. policy. Some analysts suggest that the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism may make it difficult to pressure the Chinese government on human rights and religious freedoms, particularly as they relate to Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Terrorist Capabilities for Cyberattack: Overview and Policy Issues
No Description Available.
Critical Infrastructure: Control Systems and the Terrorist Threat
This report addresses the cyber-vulnerability of critical infrastructure industries which regularly use industrial control systems. Industrial control systems may be vulnerable to infiltration by different routes, including wireless transmission, direct access to control system computers, exploitation of dial-up modems used for maintenance, or through the Internet. This report will specifically discuss the potential for access to industrial control systems through the Internet.
Homeland Security: Protecting Airliners from Terrorist Missiles
No Description Available.