Public Law 280 and Law Enforcement in Indian Country -- Research PrioritiesDecember 2005
Passed in 1953, Public Law 280 (PL 280) gave jurisdiction over criminal offenses involving Indians in Indian Country to certain States and allowed other States to assume jurisdiction. Subsequent legislation allowed States to retrocede jurisdiction, which has occurred in some areas. Some PL 280 reservations have experienced jurisdictional confusion, tribal discontent, and litigation, compounded by the lack of data on crime rates and law enforcement response. This NIJ Research in Brief summarizes the current status of PL 280 jurisdiction, identifies the key issues, and lists areas for further research and action.