Witness Protection

Witness Protection

Federal Witness Protection Program

In line with Kimberly Collica

about Witness Protection in the Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement:

The Federal Witness Protection Program, also known as the Federal Witness Security (WITSEC) Program, was authorized by Congress as part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. This program, which was implemented in 1971, is proclaimed to be the government's best tool in combating organized crime, drug-related crimes (there is more information about criminal law in the American Legal Encyclopedia and about crimes and criminals vocabulary), terrorism, and other serious law violations. Witnesses receive protection from the United States Marshals Service from the time they testify before a grand jury until the trial is completed. After the trial, witnesses and their family are relocated, given new identities, and provided with monthly stipends. The United States Marshals Service assists protected witnesses in obtaining such services as housing, medical care, job training, and employment. Ninety-seven percent of these witnesses have criminal histories but their recidivism rate is only half of the national average.

State Witness Protection Programs

In line with Kimberly Collica

about Witness Protection in the Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement:

With witness intimidation on the rise, the need for states to adopt a formal witness protection program (WPP) has become increasingly important. However, only a handful of states have done so. Some states have tried to model their program after the Federal Witness Security (WITSEC) Program but have been unable to replicate it because of financial deficits. Whereas WITSEC has the United States Marshals at its disposal for safeguarding protected witnesses, most states must rely on local law enforcement for protection. Moreover, whereas WITSEC received an estimated $61.8 million in 1997 from the government, most states are struggling to find money to implement and/or maintain this costly endeavor. States lacking formalized programming may have some counties that have been able to implement small-scale WPPs. Unfortunately, these programs are not under guidelines set forth by the state. They are managed and under the discretion of local law enforcement.

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