The OJP Bureaus develop, test, and evaluate promising approaches to address crime, violence, drugs, criminal and juvenile justice system improvements, and the needs of crime victims. Findings and other information are disseminated to state and local units of government, criminal justice practitioners, the media, the public, and to other countries, as well. While operating within the framework of their respective statutory mandates, each of the OJP Bureaus coordinates efforts in program design, development, and implementation to maximize the impact on the reduction of crime and violence.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) implements national and multi-state programs, provides training and technical assistance, and establishes demonstration programs to assist state and local governments and community groups in: reducing crime, enforcing state and local drug laws, and improving the functioning of the criminal justice system. Areas of emphasis include anti-drug and violent crime reduction activities, community-based prevention strategies, and comprehensive approaches to crime and violence.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is the nation's primary source for criminal justice statistical information. As the statistical arm of the Department of Justice, BJS is responsible for the collection, analysis, publication, and dissemination of timely and accurate statistical information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government. These objective and critical data and analyses are used by key policy and decision makers at the federal, state, and local levels in their efforts toward combating crime and ensuring more just and efficient case-processing and offender handling.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the primary federal sponsor of research in crime and criminal justice and of evaluations of programs to reduce crime. NIJ's mandate gives it other important missions, including developing and applying new technologies to enhance the capabilities and effectiveness of law enforcement and criminal justice agencies nationwide; establishing model programs to reduce crime and improve criminal justice operations, evaluating their effectiveness, developing information about innovative approaches, and disseminating research findings and other information to policymakers and practitioners in criminal justice and related fields; and sponsoring training and technical assistance to meet criminal justice needs.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is dedicated to providing national leadership, direction, coordination, and resources to prevent, treat, and control juvenile delinquency; improve the effectiveness and fairness of the juvenile justice system; address the problem of missing and exploited children; and thereby contribute to developing the full potential of America's most valuable resource - its youth. OJJDP implements this mission through its Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Title II, Part A, Concentration of Federal Efforts Program, which includes support for the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (see Appendix), a Part B Formula Grants Program, Part C Special Emphasis Discretionary Grants and the activities of the National Institute for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Part D Gang Programs, Part E State Challenge Grant Programs, Part G Mentoring Programs, Title IV Missing and Exploited Children Program, Title V Prevention Incentive Grants Program, and programs funded and administered under the Victims of Child Abuse Act.
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) was created by the Victims of Crime Act, as amended, to help ensure justice and healing for our nation's crime victims. As the chief advocate for America'scrime victims, OVC provides funding for crucial victim services, supports training for diverse professionals who work with crime victims, and develops projects to enhance victims' rights and services. OVC administers two formula grants to states and many discretionary grants designed to benefit crime victims. These programs are funded by the Crime Victims Fund, which is derived from the fines, penalty assessments, and bail forfeitures paid by federal criminal offenders -- not from tax dollars.
The Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS) is dedicated to building stronger, safer communities through the Weed and Seed strategy, a community-based, multi-disciplinary approach to combating crime.
The goals of Weed and Seed are simple and ambitious: "weed" violence, drug trafficking, and drug-related crime from high-crime neighborhoods, and "seed" neighborhoods with social services and economic revitalization, providing a safe and healthy environment for citizens to live, work, and raise their families. Under the leadership of the U.S. Attorneys, in April 1998, 147 communities were officially recognized sites. In 1992, the Department of Justice developed a process to designate these Weed and Seed sites as "Officially Recognized" at the federal level. Official Recognition provides communities instituting the strategy primarily through local resources with added technical assistance and incentives. (For more information, see Comprehensive Community-Based Initiatives.)
The Office of Justice Programs administers several programs authorized by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VCCLEA). Three OJP Program Offices administer policies related to corresponding Crime Act grants. They are: the OJP Drug Courts Program Office; the OJP Corrections Program Office; and the OJP Violence Against Women Grants Office.
The OJP Drug Courts Program Office supports the development and implementation of effective Drug Court programming at the state, local, and tribal level. The Office coordinates the Drug Court activities of OJP's five component Bureaus and administers the Drug Courts Discretionary Grant Program as authorized by Title V of the VCCLEA. The Office strives to strengthen existing Drug Courts and develop new Drug Courts, encouraging them to provide continuing judicial supervision, mandatory periodic testing for substance abuse among clients, substance abuse treatment, offender supervision, management and aftercare, combined with appropriate sanctions for failure to comply with program requirements. In addition, the Office works closely with agencies and organizations involved in the areas of justice and drug abuse recovery and also develops and delivers appropriate technical assistance, training, and research findings in order to enhance the effectiveness and operation of both existing and new Drug Courts.
The OJP Corrections Program Office implements and supports those portions of the VCCLEA which relate directly to penal institutions. The Office works to promote coordination between all OJP Bureaus responsible for correctional initiatives and works to form partnerships with other federal criminal justice related agencies including, but not limited to, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the National Institute of Corrections. Partnerships also are sought with professional associations representing state government, adult and juvenile corrections, and local jails. Two sections of the Crime Act provide grants to states, through the year 2000, for the construction, development, expansion, modification, operation and improvement of correctional facilities for the incarceration of adult and juvenile offenders. To qualify for these grants, states must make certain assurances including comprehensive planning, to include the involvement of and shared resources with local government; incarceration of violent offenders; truth in sentencing; and recognition of the rights and needs of victims of crime and of incarcerated veterans. Another section of the VCCLEA promotes alternative methods of punishment for youthful offenders, including early diversion and intervention. A fourth section seeks to promote healthy parenting by allowing children to live in structured environments with their offender-parents, who are assigned to community correctional placements. A final section funds residential substance abuse treatment within state correctional institutions.
The Violence Against Women Grants Office administers the Department of Justice's formula and discretionary grant programs authorized by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. The program assists the nation's criminal justice system in responding to the needs and concerns of women who have been, or potentially could be, victimized by violence. Grant programs emphasize enhanced delivery of services to women victimized by violence; strengthen outreach efforts to minorities and disabled women; and provide Indian tribal governments with funds to develop and strengthen the tribal justice system's response to violent crimes committed against Native American women, through a discretionary grant program. In addition, the Office provides technical assistance to state and tribal government officials in planning innovative and effective criminal justice responses to violent crimes committed against women. This office works closely with the Violence Against Women Office, another OJP component, which is responsible for Department-wide coordination of this issue.
Each of the OJP Crime Act Program Offices has allocated a percentage of its available funds -- up to 5 percent -- to fund evaluation of new programs. For each program area, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is developing a multi-year research and evaluation strategy. The strategy includes a planning conference that brings together researchers and practitioners to survey the state of knowledge and propose research topics and strategies appropriate to programmatic innovations supported by each Office. For each, a special research and evaluation solicitation is being announced. NIJ is not attempting to evaluate every program funded, nor is it focusing these funds on large national evaluations. Rather, the Institute is developing evolving research and evaluation strategies to guide the implementation of these programs.
A Department of Justice Response Center has been created to direct assistance to the public on requirements for receiving funds offered through the VCCLEA legislation as well as to provide general information related to OJP program activities. The toll free telephone number for the Response Center is 800-421-6770 or, locally, it may be reached by dialing 202-307-1480.
The Office of Congressional and Public Affairs (OCPA) is a key point of contact for all of OJP. OCPA is responsible for ensuring effective communications with Congress, the news media and the public. OCPA works with members of Congress, Congressional committees, and Congressional staff on legislation, policies, and issues affecting OJP, its Bureaus and Program Offices, as well as the criminal justice community. It is responsible for tracking legislation, responding to Congressional requests, and providing guidance to the Department regarding pending legislation. OCPA also works with the news media to keep them informed about OJP programs and activities. The telephone number for OCPA is 202-307-0703.
Office of Justice Programs American Indian and Alaskan Native Affairs Desk
To enhance the response of the Department of Justice to inform American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) tribes about funded programs or those that could be developed, an American Indian and Alaskan Native Affairs Desk has been established in OJP. Using culture as a resource, along with human and material resources, OJP is strengthening the opportunities for AI/AN tribes to: enhance their indigenous methods for handling social problems and intra-familial conflicts; perpetuate their culture by engaging members and others in culturally appropriate activities; apply approaches and techniques that are meaningful to the people being served; and enhance the cultural perspective of members by using and drawing upon the strengths of the Indian culture. Through the transfer of funds and provision of technical assistance, OJP has become a partner in empowering AI/AN communities to improve the quality of life for their people and to build strong and healthy communities.
Back to Table of Contents