OJP Press Release letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 2, 2003
Contact: Adam Spector & Sheila Jerusalem
202-307-0703
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS FUNDS TO LOUISIANA
TO FIGHT CRIME AND SUPPORT CRIME VICTIMS

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The State of Louisiana received over $8.6 million today from the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to prevent and combat crime, strengthen state and local criminal justice systems, and support thousands of victims of crime throughout the state. The state was awarded $7.65 million under the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Formula Grant Program and $988,000 under the State Crime Victim Compensation Program.

    “OJP is proud of the partnership we have developed with state and local law enforcement that use these funds to make our streets and communities safer,” said OJP Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels.  “We are pleased to provide these resources to help Louisiana prevent and respond to drug-related and violent crime, and to assist crime victims.”

    The Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Formula Grant Program, administered by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), provides grants, based on the state's population, to each state’s designated state agency to develop statewide crime fighting strategies and coordinate distribution of funds to units of local government and not for profit agencies. This year, Louisiana received $7.65 million in Byrne formula funding and intends to use it to support projects including: multi-jurisdictional task forces; criminal justice records improvement; offender assessment and treatment; and crime prevention programs.

    “These grant awards will help jurisdictions across Louisiana build safer communities and improve their criminal justice systems,” said BJA Director Richard Nedelkoff. “We applaud the efforts of our state and local partners who work at the local level to make our nation safer.”

    States may use Byrne funds to support a range of programs to improve their criminal justice systems and to create safer communities. Grant funds may be used to support any of the 29 legislatively authorized purpose areas that range from prevention activities, law enforcement, court services, and offender management initiatives.

    OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is committed to enhancing the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and provide leadership to promote justice and healing for crime victims. This year, OVC provided $988,000 for compensation payments to Louisiana crime victims. Since the Crime Victims Fund was established in 1986, crime victims across Louisiana have received compensation totaling $5,373,000. Money for these annual awards comes from the Crime Victims Fund – which is supported primarily by fines paid by federal criminal offenders, not taxpayers. These fines are collected by United States Attorneys’ Offices, the U.S. Courts and the Bureau of Prisons. Fines collected in one year are deposited into the Fund and are available for grant awards the following year. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 allowed private gifts, donations and bequests to the Crime Victims Fund.

    “This grant will give crime victims a helping hand at the time when they most need it,” said OVC Director John W. Gillis. “By helping meet critical expenses, compensation programs can provide the support needed to help victims move on with their lives.”

    OVC supports both the collection efforts for the Crime Victims Fund, which provides these program dollars, and the allocation of these resources to help crime victims. Louisiana’s compensation program receives annual grants equal to 60 percent of its total payout to crime victims in a previous year. Compensation programs work similarly to private insurance, providing reimbursement to, or on behalf of, crime victims for expenses such as medical costs, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages.

    The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises 5 component bureaus and 2 offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, and the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education. Information about OJP programs, publications, and conferences is available on the OJP Web site, www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

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