3: Building Strong Communities
A central idea governing OJP programs is that, simply put, local communities are
best able to solve local problems. OJP focuses its resources on supporting local
innovation, sharing information and replicating promising programs, and conducting
research and evaluation to help gain a clearer picture about what works in strengthening
communities. Several OJP initiatives are taking creative, comprehensive approaches to
encouraging various parts of communities to work together to solve common problems.
Several of OJP's major formula grant programs, including BJA's Byrne and Local
Law Enforcement Block Grant programs and OJJDP's Title V and other formula
programs, are potential sources of funding for communities wishing to support
partnerships to improve public safety. (For information on funding through these
programs, contact the appropriate program administrator for your state, listed in the
Online Resource Guide.) In addition, OJP supports a number of discretionary grant
programs in this area. These include the following:
- The Weed and Seed program is the Department of Justice's premier community
development initiative. This community-based initiative is an innovative and
comprehensive multi-agency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and
community revitalization. Communities work with their local U. S. Attorneys to
develop a Weed and Seed strategy. Sites that are officially recognized by OJP's
Executive Office for Weed and Seed are eligible for Weed and Seed funding, and
may receive preference in discretionary funding from participating federal agencies
and priority in federally-sponsored training and technical assistance. As of June
1999, there were approximately 200 officially recognized Weed and Seed sites.
For more information, contact the Executive Office for Weed and Seed at
202/616-1152. In addition, the Weed and Seed Website includes summaries of
specific activities in all Weed and Seed cities. The site can be accessed from OJP's
home page at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.
- In addition to the Weed and Seed Program, OJP is involved in several interagency
and interdepartmental initiatives to help revitalize communities. One of these is the
Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative, which is managed by NIJ,
the Criminal Division, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and other
Department of Justice components. The local U.S. Attorney partners with federal,
state, and local criminal justice agencies, the community, and a local research
entity to collaborate on data collection and analysis and to use the results of these
assessments to design and implement targeted interventions to prevent and reduce
crime. Information on the Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative is
available by calling the NIJ program manager at 202/514-1893.
- OJJDP works with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to
administer the Drug-Free Communities Support Program. Drug-Free
Communities Grants fund coalitions of young people, parents, media, law
enforcement, school officials, religious organizations, and other community
representatives that target young people's use of illegal drugs, alcohol, and
tobacco. The coalitions also encourage citizen participation in substance abuse
reduction efforts and disseminate information about effective programs. More
information about the Drug-Free Communities initiative is available on the Internet
at ONDCP's Website at www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov or on OJJDP's Website at
ojjdp.ncjrs.org. Information is also available through either office's clearinghouse.
The ONDCP Clearinghouse can be reached by telephone at 1-800/666-3332 and
the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse can be reached at 1-800/638-8736.
- OJJDP also works with the COPS Office and the Departments of Education and
Health and Human Services on the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative. The
initiative provides funding for comprehensive community-wide strategies for
creating safe and drug-free schools and promoting healthy childhood development.
To be funded, local strategies must include plans for creating a safe school
environment, youth alcohol and drug prevention, violence prevention, early
intervention, school and community mental health preventive and treatment
programs, early childhood psychosocial and emotional development, and safe
school policies. For more information, contact the U.S. Department of
Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug-Free
Schools Program at 202/260-3954. The Department of Education's Website is
located at www.ed.gov.
- OJJDP sponsors Partnerships to Reduce Juvenile Gun Violence, which bring
together community residents, law enforcement, and the juvenile justice system to
reduce juveniles' illegal access to guns. The program emphasizes a
comprehensive, collaborative approach of community mobilization, planning, and
collaboration. For more information, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse
- OJJDP funds community organizations through the Juvenile Mentoring Program
(JUMP). JUMP uses mentoring as a tool to keep young people in schools and off
the streets. JUMP matches responsible adults on a one-to-one basis with youth at
risk of failing in school, dropping out of school, or otherwise getting into trouble.
Mentors provide youth with discipline, guidance, and personal attention.
Mentoring activities include tutoring, job training, and community service. JUMP
programs operate in a variety of settings - such as schools, recreation centers,
businesses - but must work cooperatively with each local school authority. For
more information, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
- Within OJP, nearly all of OJP's bureaus and offices are involved in one or more of
our comprehensive community-based youth initiatives, such as Safe Start,
SafeFutures and Safe Kids/Safe Streets. Information on these and other programs
is published annually in the OJP Program Plan.
- OJP regularly invests in research and demonstration projects to support promising
approaches to improving public safety. One key example is OJP's work to
promote the concept of community justice, a new approach to criminal justice that
applies the problem-solving ethic of community policing to the areas of
prosecution, courts, and corrections. Funding for innovative projects may be
available through BJA's Open Solicitation, or through other sources, which are
published annually in the OJP Program Plan.
Training and Technical Assistance Opportunities
- Training and technical assistance for Weed and Seed sites is provided through the
Institute for Law and Justice and the Executive Office for Weed and Seed. U.S.
Attorneys and OJP coordinate to develop a technical assistance plan for each site.
Available assistance includes participation in Weed and Seed e-mail forums and
bulletin boards, peer consultations, specific on-site assistance, and regional
workshops and conferences. For more information on Weed and Seed technical
assistance, contact the Executive Office for Weed and Seed by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 202/616-1152.
- BJA partners with the Center for Court Innovation, the Center for Effective Public
Policy, and the Justice Management Institute to provide technical assistance to
community justice projects. Community justice centers consolidate a variety of
community services under one roof, as well as consolidating functions of civil,
family, and misdemeanor criminal courts under a single authority. For more
information, visit the community court Website at www.communitycourts.org.
- OJJDP provides technical assistance to communities wishing to implement a
comprehensive strategy to address juvenile crime. The Comprehensive Strategy
for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders incorporates two principal
components: preventing children from becoming delinquent by focusing prevention
programs on at-risk youth, and improving the response to delinquent offenders
through a system of graduated sanctions. For more information, call the Juvenile
Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
- Training and technical assistance from OJP's bureaus may be helpful in providing
specific expertise on public safety issues involving juveniles or victims. OJJDP and
OVC both offer extensive training and technical assistance programs. See Chapter
5 for a full description of OJJDP's efforts, and Chapter 8 for a full description of
OVC's assistance program.
- The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) publishes information to help
guide communities' efforts to work together to improve public safety. For
information, visit NCPC's online resource center at www.ncpc.org or call NCPC at
- The National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR), the Vice President's
initiative aimed at making government more responsive and efficient, manages the
Federal Support to Communities Initiative, a "one-stop" online resource for
communities seeking federal assistance for a variety of purposes. This initiative is
accessible from the NPR home page at ww.npr.gov/initiati/comunity.html.
- OJP works closely with the Department of Housing and Urban Development,
which administers the Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community (EZ/EC)
programs. Information on the EZ/EC initiative is available on HUD's home page
- Another comprehensive guide to federal programs is the Catalog of Federal
Domestic Assistance, which is maintained by the General Services Administration.
The catalog is a government-wide compendium of federal programs, projects,
services, and activities that provide assistance or benefits to the American public. It
contains financial and nonfinancial assistance programs administered by
departments and establishments of the federal government. To purchase the
catalog in hard copy or in tape, diskette, or CD-Rom format, contact the Federal
Domestic Assistance Catalog Staff, General Services Administration, 300 7th
Street, SW, Suite 101, Washington, DC 20407 or call 202/708-5126. The catalog
is also available on the Web in searchable format. The Web address is
The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) serves as OJP's
clearinghouse for information and publications on criminal and juvenile justice related
topics, including law enforcement and public safety. By calling NCJRS toll-free at 1-800/688-4252, you can speak with an information specialist who can conduct
individualized research and provide you with copies of OJP publications. NCJRS also has
a homepage on the World Wide Web at www.ncjrs.org. The site contains the full text of
most OJP publications in a searchable format, as well as links to other relevant sites.
For more information, call OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at
202/307-0703 or the Department of Justice Response Center at 1-800/421-6770.
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