Strengthening And Rebuilding Tribal Justice Systems: Learning From History And Looking Towards The Future


In 1998, several agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a partnership with three Indian nations – the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Pueblo of Zuni – to strengthen the tribes’ justice systems. Through this initiative, called the Comprehensive Indian Resources for Community and Law Enforcement (CIRCLE) Project, the federal partners provided the tribes with incentives and opportunities (streamlined and coordinated federal funding for justice functions was the primary one) that helped them consider how the individual components of their tribal justice systems (courts, police, corrections, and other programs) might work together to strengthen their approaches to pressing crime and social problems. This collection of documents comprises the first (process) phase of the CIRCLE Project evaluation. The combined process and participatory qualities of this evaluation phase generate a complicated set of products. It includes a cross-site analysis, which focuses on the opportunities, accomplishments, and continuing challenges for both the tribes and the federal government; a description of the federal planning and implementation process; and process-oriented summaries of each participating tribe’s implementation work. 

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