FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 1997202/307-0703



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department announced today that it will award a total of over $78.5 million to allow the states, the District of Columbia, and eligible territories to provide additional prison space to incarcerate violent offenders for longer periods of time. The grants are being made under the Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth-in-Sentencing Program.

"These grant funds help states create prison space for criminals who need to serve time for violent acts," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "Violent offenders belong behind bars. These grants give states the resources to help put and keep them there."

Last year--the first year of the program--the Department provided over $376 million to states under the Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth-in-Sentencing programs. These formula grants being made today will supplement those efforts, with each state and the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico receiving $1,502,767, and the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands each receiving $100,184.

"These grants will allow states to build on their first year of funding," said Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), which administers the program. "This Administration is committed to working with the states to ensure that violent criminals stay behind bars. A balanced crime-fighting program has got to include punishment along with prevention and law enforcement."

The Violent Offender Incarceration Formula Grant Program has three tiers, each of which has increasingly stringent requirements. Today's awards are being made under Tier One of the program.

Tier One funds may be used to expand correctional facilities to house more violent offenders. Funds can also be used for new or expanded facilities to house nonviolent offenders and criminal aliens to free prison space for violent offenders.

To receive Tier One grants, states had to establish, or indicate that they would establish, correctional policies and programs, including truth-in-sentencing laws, that ensure violent offenders serve a substantial portion of the sentences imposed; ensure they would impose severe punishment for violent offenders, including violent juvenile offenders; and ensure that they would sentence violent offenders to serve prison terms that would adequately protect the public.

States that receive Tier One grants are also eligible to apply for funds under Tiers Two and Three and the Truth-in-Sentencing Grant Program. Funding decisions for these subsequent tiers and Truth-in-Sentencing program will be made later this year. Awards to eligible states and territories under Tiers Two and Three will differ because they will be based on the number of Part 1 violent crimes each state provides to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports during the preceding three years compared to the annual number of Part 1 violent crimes reported by all eligible states. States that receive funding under all three tiers can receive no more than nine percent of the funding available for the entire program.

The attached chart includes contact information for each state's program. To obtain additional information on OJP and its programs, you can access the agency's homepage at:

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