THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1999202/307-0703


Justice Department program links communities and prosecutors in efforts to prevent crime

WASHINGTON, D.C.--President Clinton today announced Justice Department grants to ?? communities totaling $?? that will foster collaborative efforts between prosecutors' offices providing a mechanism for the community to identify local priorities and work directly with prosecutors' offices to develop strategic criminal justice plans and crime prevention efforts.

"For too long, communities have watched decisionmakers call the shots about crime in their communities with no voice," said President Clinton. "These programs allow residents to be heard and provide them with an opportunity to participate in a process, which can help restore the community after it has been damaged by crime."

Community prosecution is a key element in community justice, which is a concept based on getting citizens involved in making their neighborhoods safer. Community justice emphasizes taking an aggressive approach to addressing the needs of the justice system's primary customers--the citizens it serves.

The grants being announced today are being made by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). The program was included in the Justice Department's 1999 Appropriations Act. The Act instructed the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to transfer $5 million to BJA for the program.

"The increased focus on community policing over the last five years has brought communities and the criminal justice systems that serve them much closer," said Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder. "These programs allow us to build on that success and will help create strong and lasting bonds among police, prosecutors, corrections, and the community."

The grants being made today will help communities plan and implement community prosecution strategies. These communities were selected to participate in the program based on information in concept papers describing their proposed strategies. Implementation grantees are eligible to receive up to $200,000. Planning grantees are eligible to receive up to $75,000. Two special grants are being made to Denver, Colorado and Multnomah County, Oregon, which will serve as leadership sites. Both jurisdictions have implemented successful community prosecution programs and will provide technical assistance to sites receiving implementation and planning grants.

"Like the overall philosophy of community justice, there is no federal blueprint or road map for community prosecution strategies," said OJP Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson. "From the bottom up, communities and criminal justice professionals are telling us where they want to go and we are working as partners to help them get there."

The Justice Department has sponsored two conferences on community justice. The conferences were designed to help local policymakers and community groups identify problems and employ the concepts of community policing, community courts, community prosecution and other approaches to create solutions. The first conference, held in September 1996, was attended by approximately 300 people. More than 700 people attended the second conference held in March 1998.

In March of this year, BJA made grants to five jurisdictions to establish community prosecution initiatives. Under that initiative, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office in Indianapolis, Indiana; the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney in Spokane, Washington; the Denver District Attorney's office in Denver, Colorado; the Bronx District Attorney's office in Bronx County, New York; and the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney in Honolulu, Hawaii received approximately $85,000 for community prosecution programs.

An attached chart includes the communities selected to receive community prosecution grants and local contact information for each program. For additional information about OJP and BJA visit:

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BJA 99-172

After Hours Contact: Doug Johnson at 888/491-4487

The following may apply for planning grants of up to $70,000:
Baltimore, MD Alan C. Woods 410/545-5527
Taos, NM Allan R. Toledo, Esq. 505/751-0488
Richmond County, NY William L. Murphy 718/876-5750
Freeborn County, MN Craig Nelson 507/377-5192
St. Joseph, IN Diana L. Dibkey 219/235-9544
Palm Beach County, FL James Martz 561/355-7305
Fulton County, GA Edison Benson 404/730-4979
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Johnnie J. Sam, II 616/723-8288
Lumpkin County, GA Stan Gunter 706/864-6754
Providence, RI William Guglietta 401/274-4400
Placer County, CA Suzanne I. Gassaniga 530/889-7000
Westchester County, NY Robert M. Maccarone 914/285-3460
Cincinnati, OH Fay D. Dupuis 513/352-3334
Portsmouth, NH Robert Ducharme 603/427-1500
Lakawanna County, PA Michael J. Barrasse 570/963-6717
Rio Arriba, NM