U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Innovation. Partnerships. Safer Neighborhoods.
Justice Resource Update. Advancing the Field of Criminal Justice. JULY 2010
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Supporting the Field: A Wise Investment

OJP Video
AAG Laurie O. Robinson ...
The Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) role as the largest grant-making agency in the Department of Justice brings with it tremendous responsibility and a remarkable opportunity to strengthen our criminal and juvenile justice systems. The billions of dollars we administer every year support activities in every sector of the field and every corner of the country.

OJP must rigorously enforce a grant application process that is fair and accessible and a grant administration process that ensures funds are spent responsibly.

In this issue, you’ll meet one of our many grant managers who works with local practitioners to make sure OJP is spending taxpayer dollars wisely. These grant managers are an essential partner for criminal and juvenile justice practitioners throughout the country.

The other articles throughout this issue, including the list of training opportunities in Mark Your Calendar, are all excellent examples of OJP’s support for applicable research, vital training, and programs and services that demonstrate results.

If you have a story about how your organization is applying federal funds or using federal research to make a difference, please let us know. We know that our support really makes an impact because of how you apply it. We always welcome your stories, questions, comments, and feedback.
Bullet Supporting the Field: A Wise Investment
Bullet Recovery Act Job Gains
Bullet Grantees Receive Compliance Assistance
Bullet Making Sense of DNA Backlogs
Bullet Responding to Sexting
Bullet Happy Birthday, McGruff
Bullet Mark Your Calendar
Recovery Act Job Gains

OJP’s grantees are using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds to create and retain jobs. More than 10,000 jobs were created or retained from January to March 2010, according to data reported by OJP’s highest funded grantees and compiled by OJP’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

Of the recipients of OJP’s 200 largest grants, 144 used specific reporting categories to provide information on the types of jobs that were created or retained. Data were submitted for more than 6,000 jobs, 50 percent of which were law enforcement jobs. Another 29 percent of the jobs were in community, social, or victim services, while nearly 9 percent were in the fields of detention, probation, parole, and community corrections. Smaller numbers of jobs were added or retained in fields ranging from court professionals to information technology.

These data are not representative of future trends because some agencies added a large number of jobs that will not be duplicated in future reporting periods. They are, however, an indicator that OJP’s grantees are using Recovery Act funds to create and save jobs and enhance the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Grantees Receive Compliance Assistance

"Innovative" and "administrative" are two terms that are not often used together. OJP’s grant managers are hoping to change that. They are helping states, tribes, and localities comply with grant requirements by providing administrative assistance that helps practitioners remain focused on delivering quality programs.

"Anytime I come across something or get a question from a grantee, and we don’t have anything on it, I’ll put together a supplemental document," said Dean Iwasaki, the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) State Policy Advisor for New York. Realizing that professionals in the field desperately need funding but often do not have dedicated staff to focus on grant management, OJP grant managers like Iwasaki are offering proactive assistance.

While working with Recovery Act grantees, Iwasaki recognized that many of them were not aware of the subgrantee monitoring policy requirement. Rather than issuing delinquent notices, Iwasaki started writing. "I put together an acceptable policy using information from our own processes, and I gave it to them to use as a template" he said.

Providing resources for local grant managers helps them stay focused on improving public safety and ensures open communication between federal, state, local, and tribal criminal justice professionals. "If I went in and just asked them for the policy, the whole flow of communication would stop. Instead, I try to go in and explain what they need and provide a solution," Iwasaki said.

By creating innovative solutions to administrative requirements, Iwasaki and his peers are making the jobs of the people in the field easier and helping to promote public safety.

If you need assistance with grant monitoring, please contact us.

Making Sense of DNA Backlogs

Demand for laboratories to analyze DNA continues to outstrip the capacity of laboratories to process these requests, according to a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Special Report. Thousands more cases were solved in 2008 than in 2005 because the capacity of crime labs has increased so dramatically. While labs can process significantly more cases, they continue to have backlogs because of the enormous demand.

There is no industry-wide definition of a backlog; laboratories define and count backlogs in many different ways.

The NIJ report categorizes backlogs into two types: (1) casework backlogs that consist of evidence collected from crime scenes that is awaiting analysis and (2) convicted offender and arrestee sample backlogs that are the result of the mandated collection of DNA from offenders and arrestees convicted of certain crimes. In addition, many law enforcement agencies have evidence in storage waiting to be sent to the lab for analysis.

Learn more in NIJ’s recently published Special Report Making Sense of DNA Backlogs—Myths vs. Reality by Mark Nelson (NCJ 230183).

Responding to Sexting

The Youth Online Safety Working Group recently released recommendations to help education and legal professionals prevent and manage the rising number of sexting incidences. The group comprises representatives from the federal government, law enforcement, education, legal entities, and other public and private organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC is supported by OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

As the number of young people with cell phones continues to grow, so does the dangerous practice of sexting, which is generally defined as minors sending sexually explicit texts or nude or partially nude images of minors. Often, these texts or images are self-produced. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, sexting affects approximately 1 in 6 youths.

The recommendation from the working group can be found in the Interdisciplinary Response to Youths Sexting: Recommendations from the Youth Online Safety Working Group.

Happy Birthday, McGruff

McGruff the Crime Dog® celebrated his 30th birthday on July 1. Since his first television appearance more than 25 years ago, McGruff has helped children and law enforcement agencies "Take A Bite Out of Crime!" The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) uses McGruff as a central part of its larger strategy to help people keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe from crime. The Department of Justice has a longstanding partnership with NCPC to improve and protect communities.


Impression and Pattern Evidence Symposium

NIJ, BJA, and the FBI Laboratory Division are cosponsoring the Impression and Pattern Evidence Symposium on August 2–5, 2010, to promote collaboration among impression and pattern evidence experts, law enforcement officers, and legal professionals. Educational opportunities will also be available for evidence examiners. The symposium is being held in Clearwater Beach, Florida, and registration is available online.

Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Conference

With a focus on successful, data-driven strategies to support the reduction of youth access to alcohol, the 12th Annual National Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Conference will include practical content and networking opportunities. OJJDP is hosting the conference in Anaheim, California, August 18–20, 2010. Online registration is open.

DNA Collection and Use in Sexual Assault Cases

Designed for first responders and victim service providers who may be responsible for seeing that DNA evidence is located, collected, and used effectively in sexual assault cases, this Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center program will include interactive class activities, simulations, and case studies. The training is being held in Beaverton, Oregon, on September 21–22, 2010.

Leading by Legacy Training

BJA is hosting a regional legacy training event, September 25–27, 2010, in Indianapolis, Indiana. This training is funded by the Recovery Act and provides leadership and management development opportunities for rural law enforcement leaders. Applications are available online.

Funding Opportunities

OJP’s Web site includes a complete list of all open solicitations. View the Funding page to review all funding opportunities. You can also review the entire 2010 Program Plan for complete information about opportunities throughout the year. Don’t forget to check the Web site regularly for updates.

Contact Us

If you have questions, comments, or feedback, please contact the Office of Communications.

Justice Resource Update is designed to help criminal justice practitioners stay informed and better serve their constituents by providing valuable information about federal resources, advancements in the field, and training opportunities. We strive to provide information you can use, and we welcome your input.

E-mail: AskOJP
Web site: www.ojp.gov
Phone: 202-307-0703