Financial Assistance

All OJP agencies award grants and contracts or enter into cooperative agreements to implement programs, provide technical assistance and training, conduct research and evaluations, and/or collect and analyze data to carry out their mandates. Grants are awarded in two forms: formula/block and discretionary. Formula grants are awarded to the states, which, in turn, subaward the funds to state and/or local agencies. Discretionary funds are awarded directly to state and local agencies and private organizations by the directors of the OJP agencies. This section describes both types of grant programs.

Formula Grant Programs

BJA, OJJDP, OVC, the OJP Corrections Program Office, and the OJP Violence Against Women Grants Office provide funding through formula grants awarded to the states and/or Indian tribal governments on the basis of population or other legislatively-mandated criteria. These formula grant programs, described in the following subsections, are administered by State Planning Agencies (for BJA), Criminal Justice Councils (for OJJDP), and State Agencies designated by the governor (for OVC). For additional information, contact the Department of Justice Response Center: 800-421-6770 or 202-307-1480.

Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Formula Grant Program

The BJA-administered Byrne Formula Grant Program provides funds to assist states and units of local government in controlling and preventing drug-abuse, crime, and violence and in improving the functioning of the criminal justice system.

Each state is required to develop a statewide drug control and violent crime strategy as part of its application for formula grant funds. Strategies are developed in consultation with state and local criminal justice officials and are coordinated with the treatment and prevention block grant programs.

Although not legislatively mandated, BJA has strongly encouraged the states to establish a Drug and Violent Crime Policy Board to serve as a forum for communication and to develop the strategy for and facilitate the coordination of drug and crime control activities within the state. Nearly 80 percent of the states have established such boards. States are encouraged to include U.S. Attorneys as members on these boards.

BJA's statute provides 26 legislatively authorized purpose areas under which programs may be funded. Sufficient variety and flexibility exist within and among the purpose areas, which are listed in the Appendix, to enable each state to fund those activities appropriate to its needs and unique policy environment. In addition, Congress has enacted the following three mandates that place requirements on the Formula Grant Program:

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Formula Grants Program

The OJJDP-administered Formula Grants Program, authorized by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, assists participating states in preventing and controlling delinquency and improving the juvenile justice system. This program includes four core requirements: the deinstitutionalization of status offenders (juveniles who have committed acts such as truancy or running away from home that would not be illegal for adults); the separation of juveniles and adults in secure facilities; the removal of juveniles from jails and police lockups; and reduction of the number of securely detained and confined minority juveniles where such youth are overrepresented in secure facilities.

Eligible jurisdictions include the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the Republic of Palau. Each jurisdiction receives a statutorily defined minimum allocation with the balance of the funds allocated on the basis of each jurisdiction's population under the age of 18. For further information, contact the OJJDP State Relations and Assistance Division at 202-616-3660.

Juvenile Justice State Challenge Grants

OJJDP awards annual grants to states under the Part E State Challenge Activities Program. These funds are used to address one or more of 10 challenge activities designed to address specific system reform or improvement objectives. For further information, contact the OJJDP State Relations and Assistance Division at 202-616-3660.

Crime Victim Compensation Program

OVC awards annual grants to states to supplement state compensation program efforts to provide reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs incurred by crime victims such as lost wages, funeral, medical and mental health counseling expenses. As provided by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), each state is entitled to receive funding sources in the preceding fiscal year. Only states and territories with eligible compensation programs may apply for this funding. For further information, please contact OVC at 202-307-5947.

Crime Victim Assistance

The VOCA victim assistance grant program supports state efforts to fund local victim services programs that provide direct services to crime victims such as crisis counseling, shelter, court advocacy, transportation and other critical services. Funding provided by OVC is awarded to states to pass through to public and private non-profit organizations such as domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, child abuse treatment programs, and survivor of homicide victim programs. The program goals are to support services which immediately respond to the emotional and physical needs of crime victims, assist the primary and secondary victims of crime in understanding the dynamics of victimization and in stabilizing their lives after a victimization, encourage victim cooperation and participation in the criminal justice system, and offer an immediate measure of safety to crime victims. Every state and recognized territory participates in the victim assistance grant program. For further information, contact the OVC State Compensation and Assistance Division at 202-307-5947.

OJP Corrections Program Office Formula Grant Programs

The OJP Corrections Program Office awards formula grants to states and states organized as multi-state compacts to construct, develop, expand, modify, operate, or improve correctional facilities, including boot camp facilities and other alternative correctional facilities to ensure that prison cell space is available for the confinement of violent offenders, and to implement truth in sentencing laws for sentencing violent offenders. Fifty percent of the appropriated funds are used for Truth in Sentencing Incentive Grants. To be eligible to apply for these funds, states must have laws that require a person convicted of violent crimes to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence imposed. The other half of the funds support the Violent Offender Incarceration Grant Program and are made available to all eligible states using a formula based on violent crimes reported by the states. Federal funds may be used for up to 75 percent of total project costs. States are required to have a comprehensive correctional plan and to involve local units of government in the program.

In addition, under Section 20201, "Punishment of Young Offenders," of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the OJP Corrections Program Office is authorized to implement a formula grant program to increase the capability of states and local governments to provide alternative sanctions for young offenders as well as to promote reduced recidivism, crime prevention, and assistance to victims.

The OJP Corrections Program Office also is authorized to award formula grants to state correctional facilities for residential substance abuse treatment programs. Inmates must be incarcerated in state and local correctional and detention facilities for a period of time sufficient to permit substance abuse treatment. State aftercare services must involve the coordination of the correctional facility treatment program with other human services and rehabilitation programs, such as educational and job training programs, parole supervision programs, halfway house programs, and participation in self-help and peer group programs that may aid in rehabilitation of individuals in the substance abuse treatment programs. For further information, contact the DOJ Response Center at 800-421-6770.

OJP Violence Against Women Grants Office Formula Grant Programs

The OJP Violence Against Women Grants Office awards formula grants for law enforcement, prosecution and victim services to reduce violence against women. Funds granted to qualified states are further subgranted by the states to agencies and programs including, but not limited to, state agencies; public or private nonprofit organizations; units of local government; Indian tribal governments; nonprofit, nongovernmental victim services programs; and legal services programs for victims, to carry out programs and projects specified in the Violence Against Women Act.

States that receive Violence Against Women formula grant funds are required by statute to engage in a multidisciplinary planning process involving law enforcement; prosecution; non-profit, non-governmental victim service providers, including domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions; key criminal justice practitioners; and community leaders to develop a coordinated and integrated strategy to address violence against women. Funds may be used to support the following broad purpose areas including: 1) training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors to identify and respond more effectively to violent crimes against women; 2) developing, training, or expanding special units of law enforcement officers and prosecutors to respond to violent crimes against women; 3) developing and improving data collection and communications systems linking police, prosecutors, and courts, or to identify and track arrests, protection orders, violations of protection orders; 4) creating or enhancing victim services programs and programs addressing stalking; and 5) developing and enhancing programs which focus on the special needs of Indian tribes in addressing violent crimes. For further information, contact the DOJ Response Center at 800-421-6770.

Discretionary Grant Programs

All of the OJP agencies administer Discretionary Grant Programs, described in the following sections. Each Bureau develops and publishes an annual program plan that describes its planned discretionary grant activities. In addition to reflecting Administration priorities and Congressional mandates, the plans incorporate input from national, state, and local officials and criminal justice practitioners.

The OJP agencies publish announcements about their funding plans in the Federal Register and conduct bulk mailings of application kits and program plans to targeted audiences. Some provide assistance in completing and submitting applications through published guidelines for writing grant proposals or through reference services. The plans encourage applicants to forge partnerships with social service, education, and other non-criminal justice agencies to improve the effectiveness of their services, reduce wasteful duplication, and identify new and innovative approaches to tough crime-related problems. The plans also provide information on training and technical assistance available to state and local jurisdictions. The FY 1998 Program Plans for all OJP discretionary grant programs have been published as one document and are available upon request. For additional information and copies of the OJP program plans, contact the Department of Justice Response Center: 800-421-6770 or 202-307-1480.

Bureau of Justice Assistance Discretionary Grant Programs

Through its Discretionary Grant Program, BJA develops and tests the effectiveness of innovative and promising programs to help local communities fight crime and violence or improve the functioning of state and local criminal justice systems. BJA's demonstration programs are designed to test the effectiveness of programs that, in view of previous research or experience, are likely to be successful in more than one jurisdiction. BJA also funds programs that are national or multi-state in scope and provides technical assistance and training to help state and local agencies adopt innovative crime- and violence-control and criminal justice system improvement programs.

Priorities for the Discretionary Grant Program reflect a balance of Administration priorities, needs expressed by state and local criminal justice practitioners, and Congressional mandates. The statewide drug control and violent crime strategies submitted annually by the states serve as an important source of information on needs at the state and local levels. Input also is obtained directly from practitioners and community representatives, as well as through staff contacts with criminal justice practitioners and associations.

Emphasis continues to be placed on the development and implementation of comprehensive approaches to crime, neighborhood-based programs with active citizen involvement, violence prevention and control initiatives with an emphasis on youth handgun violence, and improving the ability of the criminal justice system to remove serious and violent offenders from our communities. Discretionary grants are awarded directly to public and private agencies and private nonprofit organizations.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Discretionary Grant Programs

OJJDP's Discretionary Grant Program is designed to address juvenile offending and victimization through an array of targeted programs and activities. One primary method of achieving this goal is through implementation of OJJDP's Comprehensive Strategy to Address Serious, Violent, and Chronic Delinquency. The Strategy, resulting from OJJDP's review of statistics, research, and evaluation, focuses on promising approaches to strengthen the family; support core institutions; and provide a system of delinquency prevention, intervention, and treatment services. Its implementation at the state and local level requires that all sectors of the community participate in determining local needs for delinquency prevention and treatment and in formulating programs to meet those needs.

OJJDP provides discretionary funds directly to public and private nonprofit agencies, professional organizations, and individuals through its Special Emphasis Program and National Institute for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for the following types of programs:

Office for Victims of Crime Discretionary Grant Programs

The purpose of OVC's Discretionary Grant Program is to improve the quality and enhance the availability of victim services. To accomplish this purpose, OVC funds projects to identify innovative and promising crime victim programs across the country that are located in private, community-based, and public agencies, as well as in all components and levels of the criminal justice system. OVC disseminates information about these promising practices and promotes their replication nationwide.

OVC also funds discretionary programs to provide training and technical assistance to service providers who interact with crime victims. These professionals include law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, probation and parole officers, and corrections officials who work within state and federal criminal justice systems. They also include mental health professionals, doctors and nurses, the clergy, and others who regularly work with crime victims. OVC supports flexible training and technical assistance resources that offer customized services to agencies on request, as well as regional and national training events on special topics of interest to those who provide services to crime victims.

In addition, OVC reaches out to special victim populations and to victims of particular types of crime. Among these are the elderly and minority victims, child victims of sexual exploitation, victims of hate and bias crimes, and victims who reside in remote areas where access to services may be limited. A number of these programs assist Native American crime victims. For example, funding is available to assist tribal communities with victim services through the Victim Assistance in Indian Country (VAIC) Program. These funds help states establish on-reservation victim assistance programs in areas of Indian country that have had limited or no victim services. The Children's Justice Act (CJA) Discretionary Grant Program for Native Americans provides funding directly to Indian tribes for improving their investigations and prosecutions of child physical and sexual abuse cases and for coordinating with U.S. Attorneys' offices.

Other OVC programs and areas of focus include services for specific victim populations:

National Institute of Justice Discretionary Grant Programs

In selecting research, evaluation, and other projects, NIJ emphasizes those that best meet the needs of the criminal justice system and whose results can be put to practical use in the field. A systematic process of surveys, focus groups, and other assessments, conducted among the various components of the criminal justice field, is used to shape research priorities. NIJ also conducts research in cooperation with other federal government agencies, awards visiting fellowships and other grants to enhance the skills of researchers and practitioners, and conducts in-house research.

NIJ's current research priorities are outlined in its Research Prospectus which is published annually.

Priority Areas. In recent years, NIJ-sponsored research has emphasized building knowledge related to reducing violent crime and drug-related crime, reducing the consequences of crime for victims, including child victims, and developing crime prevention strategies and tactics, especially those based in the community. The use of firearms by juveniles recently has been given special emphasis. NIJ has been promoting criminal justice effectiveness particularly through research and evaluation projects in community policing and in alternative sanctions that meet the need for sentencing flexibility while ensuring accountability of offenders. NIJ also promotes effectiveness through the development and application of technology to criminal justice problems. Development of less-than-lethal weapons for law enforcement and corrections, and better forensic tools for investigators and prosecutors are NIJ priorities in science and technology. Creating a base of knowledge related to more recently emerging issues, such as environmental crime and computer crime, also is a priority. Long-term research aimed at understanding the roots of crime is a major NIJ project.

Getting Information to the Field. To bring research findings to the people who can put them to use, NIJ has a communications program that uses a variety of information-dissemination methods and formats, including publications, videotapes, and conferences and seminars series. NIJ is adopting the most advanced information technologies (including the Internet) for communication. NIJ, working with seven other federal agencies, took the lead in developing the Partnerships Against Violence Network (PAVNET), which makes available, in electronic and hard copy, information on more than 600 promising anti-violence programs now under way throughout the country. PAVNET also includes information on sources for technical assistance and potential funding to support anti-violence programs. The Web address is

In association with the other OJP Bureaus, NIJ operates the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, the world's largest source of criminal justice information. It maintains a database of more than 145,000 items, provides responses to queries about criminal justice matters, and offers research and referral assistance. NCJRS' Web address is

Making a Difference. NIJ research has made a difference in understanding and practice in several areas through:

Bureau of Justice Statistics Statistical and Discretionary Grant Programs

Statistical Series and Programs
The BJS criminal justice statistical program describes the characteristics and consequences of over 40 million criminal victimizations; the operations and activities of about 50,000 agencies, offices, courts, and institutions nationwide which define the infrastructure of the justice system; and the approximately 5 million adults, on an average day, subject to the care, custody, or control of criminal justice authorities.

From more than two dozen major data collection series, BJS publishes and distributes reports nationwide on criminal victimization, populations under correctional supervision, federal criminal offenders and case processing, criminal justice expenditures and employment, felony convictions, pretrial release practices, prosecutorial practices and policies, and the administration of law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities. Major surveys and statistical series include:

BJS offers technical and financial support to agencies responsible for statistical activities in each state. BJS also administers the Criminal Records Data Quality Program, which supports nationwide improvement and sharing of criminal history records and information.

National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP)
NCHIP implements the grant provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Brady Act) and the National Child Protection Act of 1993 to assist states in automating criminal history record systems and improving the accuracy, completeness and availability of criminal history records. NCHIP is not only strengthening the nation's capabilities to identify felons who attempt to purchase firearms but also is beginning the process of building a national system (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) which will permit identifying persons other than felons who are ineligible to purchase firearms. At the same time, the NCHIP program is helping to advance the efforts of the National Child Protection Act to expand the role of criminal history records in protecting children, the elderly, and the disabled from abuse.

NCHIP awards are made to every state, with preference given to states with the lowest percent of current records in computerized criminal history files. An award also is being made to conduct a long term evaluation of the joint impact of the NCHIP program and the use of the 5% set-aside of Byrne formula funds which is required to be expended for improving criminal justice records. Exploratory efforts also are being undertaken to identify issues and implement procedures to interface between criminal record systems and databases holding information on other categories of individuals who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm under federal or state statute. This program is being implemented by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. For further information, contact the DOJ Response Center at 1-800-421-6770.

The OJP Weed and Seed Discretionary Grant Program

Under the leadership of local U.S. Attorneys, over 75 communities in more than 22 states are implementing comprehensive strategies to "weed" criminal activity from defined, high-crime neighborhoods and "seed" these neighborhoods with coordinated prevention efforts and economic opportunity. As of April 1998, 147 communities were officially recognized sites. Awarding Official Recognition is a means by which the federal government can honor and assist communities implementing the strategy independent of Justice Department Weed and Seed funding. Communities must first develop the Weed and Seed strategy and apply for Official Recognition before being eligible to compete for discretionary grant funding. For further information, contact the Executive Office for Weed and Seed at 202-616-1152.

The OJP Drug Courts Program Office Discretionary Grant Programs

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 authorizes discretionary grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, and other assistance to implement drug court programs that combine intensive probation supervision and mandatory drug testing and treatment for young, nonviolent drug offenders. Under the terms of the statute, violent offenders are excluded from participation in Drug Courts funded under the program. For further information, contact the DOJ Response Center at 800-421-6770.

The OJP Corrections Program Office Discretionary Grant Programs

The Correctional Facilities/Boot Camps program provides funds for state and local governments to construct, develop, expand, modify, operate or improve correctional facilities, including boot camps and other alternative correctional facilities that free traditional prison and jail space for confinement of violent offenders. States or multi-state compacts are eligible to apply for funding. The FY 1995 appropriation for discretionary grants is solely for boot camp planning, development and construction-related costs. For further information, contact the DOJ Response Center at 800-421-6770.

The OJP Violence Against Women Grants Office Discretionary Grant Programs

The Law Enforcement and Prosecution Grant Program provides funds to develop and strengthen law enforcement and prosecutorial strategies to combat violent crimes against women, and develop and strengthen victims services in cases involving violent crimes against women. While the Violence Against Women Act authorizes the Law Enforcement and Prosecution Grant Program as a formula grant program, four percent of the FY 1995 appropriated funds are available for Indian tribal governments through a discretionary program. For further information, contact the DOJ Response Center at 800-421-6770.

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