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The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program: Leading Change in State and Local Justice Systems

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2020
10 pages

This report describes the various ways in which the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program (Byrne JAG) is producing positive changes in state and local justice systems, with examples provided for how specific states are using Byrne grant funds.


The Byrne JAG is the nation’s cornerstone criminal justice investment in facilitating innovation and the testing and replication of evidence-based practices in crime control and prevention nationwide. States and local communities continue to use Byrne JAG funds to address needs and improve services across all components of their justice systems. The intended feature of Byrne JAG is its flexibility. Funding parameters enable communities to design complete programs or fill gaps; to leverage other resources; and to work across city, county, and state lines. Funds can be used in all components of the criminal justice system for prevention, diversion, enforcement, courts, prosecution and defense, corrections, victim assistance, treatment of mental health and substance-use disorders, and support for specific and/or comprehensive criminal justice reforms. One section of this report describes the role of the State Administering Agency (SAA), which is the agency designated by the participating state’s governor to oversee the Byrne JAG program.  Brief descriptions of specific state programs are provided to show how the Byrne JAG is 1) supporting law enforcement’s role in improving the administration of justice; 2) reducing recidivism through court innovation; 3) improving outcomes by supporting community corrections and reentry; 4) improving justice system responses for substance use and mental health disorders; 5) serving the needs of crime victims; 6) preventing crime and juvenile delinquency; and 7) facilitating strategic planning, data analysis, evaluation, and technology.

Date Published: March 1, 2020