The U.S. Marshals Service
provides for the security, health and safety of government witnesses,
and their immediate dependents, whose lives are in danger as a result of
their testimony against drug traffickers, terrorists, organized crime
members and other major criminals.
The Witness Security
Program was authorized by the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 and
amended by the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The U.S.
Marshals have protected, relocated and given new identities to more than
8,500 witnesses and 9,900 of
their family members, since the program began in 1971.
The successful operation of
this program is widely recognized as providing a unique and valuable
tool in the government’s battle against major criminal conspirators and
Witnesses and their families typically get new identities with authentic
documentation. Housing, subsistence for basic living expenses and
medical care are provided to the witnesses. Job training and employment
assistance may also be provided.
The U.S. Marshals provide
24-hour protection to all witnesses, while they are in a high-threat
environment including pretrial conferences, trial testimonials and other
No Witness Security Program participant, following program
guidelines, has been harmed or killed while under the active protection
of the U.S. Marshals Service.
In both criminal and civil
matters involving protected witnesses, the U.S. Marshals cooperate fully
with local law enforcement and court authorities to bring witnesses to
justice or to have
them fulfill their legal responsibilities.