Roll Back “Prison Nation”*
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) represents an unprecedented federal focus on violence against women, both in terms of money allocated and in terms of changes in federal law. VAWA dollars have increased services for victims including civil legal representation, shelters, and youth prevention programs. The substantive law changes in VAWA include relief for some immigrant victims, expanded tribal court jurisdiction over certain instances of gender violence that occur on Native American land, and the provision that protection orders in one state are enforceable in another state. While VAWA has made these important positive changes in civil law and remedies, the most significant changes and the most significant dollars have been in the area of law enforcement. More than 50% of the current VAWA allocation is directed to training and support of police and prosecutors.