What the Pueblo of Zuni Accomplished Under the CIRCLE Project

The Pueblo of Zuni was interested in breaking the cycle of violence that leads to much of the crime on its reservation, including alcohol-related crime, youth violence and family violence. The Pueblo developed a plan that involved:

  • Investing in a justice-focused management information system.
  • Creating after-school and recreation programs.
  • Improving programs that target domestic violence and child abuse and neglect.
  • Recruiting and training police officers.
  • Implementing community policing strategies.
  • Funding police communications equipment.
  • Building a new corrections facility.

The Pueblo of Zuni saw a reduction in several types of crime by the end of the CIRCLE Project [1, 2]:

  • Arrests for simple assault decreased from 205 in 2002 to 94 in 2004.
  • Arrests for public drunkenness and driving under the influence decreased 40 percent between 2001 and 2004.
  • Arrests for endangerment and domestic violence did not decrease. At the close of the evaluation, these remained a problem for the tribe.

Two aspects of Zuni's CIRCLE Project were particularly effective at helping the Pueblo's criminal justice system respond to crime:

  • The management information system helped justice officials track cases from arrest to sentencing. It also helped the tribe generate crime statistics.
  • The project partners' ongoing collaboration (joint work by tribal law enforcement, courts, corrections and service providers) helped the partners develop an effective crime-fighting strategy and the ability to adapt that strategy over time.


[1] The CIRCLE Project — the Comprehensive Indian Resources for Community and Law Enforcement Project — was a partnership of several agencies in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe and Pueblo of Zuni to strengthen the tribes' criminal justice systems. As part of the initiative, the National Institute of Justice and its DOJ partners funded an evaluation of the CIRCLE Project.

Funds came from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Corrections Program Office, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office for Victims of Crime, Office on Violence Against Women, and Office of the Comptroller. Some of this money would have been invested in Indian Country anyway; however, the native nations participating in CIRCLE received between 40 percent and 400 percent more from participating DOJ agencies than comparable tribes. Learn more about the CIRCLE Project and its evaluation.

[2] These reductions may not have been caused by the CIRCLE Project, but they were certainly associated with the Project's timing.

Date Modified: January 20, 2010