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Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) ensures that recipients of financial assistance from OJP and its components comply with federal laws that prohibit discrimination in both employment and the delivery of services or benefits based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and disability. In addition, federal law prohibits recipients of federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of age in the delivery of services or benefits.

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OCR efforts include:

Ensuring that recipients of financial assistance from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) comply with applicable federal civil rights laws.

Leading nationwide effort aimed at improving language access services that law enforcement agencies provide to the limited English proficient communities that they serve.

Implementing a national civil rights enforcement strategy which strengthens the capacity of state agencies that administer the Department’s formula grants to monitor subrecipients’ compliance with federal civil rights laws.

Working to ensure that juvenile justice agencies provide limited English proficient youth and their parents or guardians with appropriate language assistance during important pre-adjudication encounters with the juvenile justice system.

Advancing the Department’s effort to implement the landmark nondiscrimination provision in the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA) which ensures that LGBT victims of domestic violence and sexual assault have equal access to VAWA funded services

Ensuring funded law enforcement agencies are complying with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 when working in schools.

Promoting gender diversity in the ranks of funded state law enforcement agencies.

Leadership

Michael Alston - Director

About Michael

Michael Alston is the Director of the Office of Justice Programs, Office for Civil Rights where he leads the Department of Justice’s efforts to ensure non-discrimination in federally assisted criminal and juvenile justice programs, and victim services programs.

Prior to joining the Office of Justice Programs, Mr. Alston served as a trial attorney in the Office of the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia (now District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General). He received his law degree from the American University Washington College of Law and his bachelor’s degree from in Economics from Howard University where he graduated cum laude.