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Preventing Gang and Drug-Related Witness Intimidation

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 1996
164 pages
This report focuses on efforts to prevent witness intimidation in gang-related and drug-related cases; these are efforts that prosecutors' offices and law enforcement agencies have developed separately from their standard victim assistance programs.
A chapter on the nature and extent of witness intimidation identifies two forms of witness intimidation that are impeding the investigation and prosecution of crime throughout the country; overt intimidation involves doing something explicit to intimidate a witness; implicit intimidation involves a real but unexpressed threat of harm. Four chapters pertain to the components of a comprehensive witness security program. One chapter addresses traditional approaches to witness security, such as the request for a high bail, the vigorous prosecution of intimidators, witness management, and basic victim/witness assistance services. Other chapters in this section discuss the relocation of intimidated witnesses, the prevention of witness intimidation in courtrooms and jails, and a reduction in community-wide intimidation. Three chapters consider the development or improvement of a witness security program. A chapter on the development of a program describes how to get started, program oversight, the coordination of services, case investigation, the law enforcement role, and cooperation among agencies. Remaining chapters in this section address legal issues and sources of help. 4 figures, a subject index, and appended sample program guidelines, program forms, legislation, evaluative reports, and housing authority procedures for expediting transfers of intimidated witnesses

Date Published: November 1, 1996