WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), and Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) released the following statement following the passage of the bi-partisan Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 (JFA) by the House. JFA strengthens crime victims’ rights and programs, by increasing access to restitution to federal crime victims, and reauthorizes programs used to notify crime victims that they have the right to be heard in court, with legal assistance. The Act further reduces the rape kit backlog and provides resources for forensic labs, while protecting the innocent by improving access to post-conviction DNA testing.

“Today the House took the necessary steps forward in strengthening protection for victims of crime by passing the Justice for All Reauthorization Act,” said Congressman Ted Poe. “As a former prosecutor and judge, I have had personal experience working with victims of crime whose lives and families' lives have been torn apart. Congress must continue to provide resources to law enforcement and crime labs in order to protect the innocent. I expect the Senate to quickly pass this amended version of Justice for All. Protecting victims of crime should be a top priority.”

“The Justice for All Reauthorization Act would strengthen policies and programs to provide better support for victims of crime throughout the country, especially those who live in rural regions, like California’s San Joaquin Valley,” said Congressman Jim Costa. “As a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, protecting the innocent and ensuring that survivors of violent crime receive the necessary services to heal is one of my top priorities in Congress.  I applaud the bipartisan passage of the Justice for All Reauthorization Act in the House, and I hope the Senate acts swiftly, so it becomes law before the end of this Congress.”

The House bill is a companion measure to Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) legislation. In order to provide victims the protection they need to restore their lives, we must ensure our criminal justice system has the resources to keep violent offenders off the streets,” Sen. Cornyn said.“Strengthening the Justice for All Act is a significant victory for the crime victims’ rights movement, and I commend the House of Representatives for moving this legislation one step closer to the President’s desk.”

Justice for All works to improve the administration of criminal justice programs, by increasing accountability for federal funds, requiring the Justice Department to assist state and local governments to improve their indigent defense systems. Additionally, it ensures the implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act.   

Representatives Poe and Costa are founding members and co-chairmen of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus (VRC).