Recovery Act Provides $2 Billion for Justice Dept.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice will administer $2 billion allocated to state and local law enforcement and criminal justice assistance under the federal stimulus package.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed the Office of Justice Programs will make $2 billion available to state and local agencies through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program.

The funding allocation is part a broader criminal justice assistance package contained in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Barack Obama in February.

More than 5,000 communities will benefit from the grant program, which was developed to help state and local agencies reduce crime and improve community safety.

ixty percent of the funding, which is awarded using a grant formula that combines population and crime statistics, will go directly to states, while the remaining 40 percent will be reserved for awards at the local level.

“The Department of Justice is moving ahead of schedule to allocate these resources so we can retain police officers, enhance law enforcement capabilities, and ensure that we have the tools and equipment necessary to build safer communities,” Holder says.

A minimum allocation component is designed to ensure each state and territory receives a portion of the $2 billion in available funding.

State and local agencies can use Byrne grant program funding to support courts, corrections, treatment and justice information sharing initiatives, or to hire more officers, expand drug and gang task forces and improve crime prevention and domestic violence programs.

The stimulus package includes more than $4 billion for state, local and tribal law enforcement to improve the criminal justice system. In addition to the Byrne JAG program, the Office of Justice Programs will manage $225 million appropriated to tribal law enforcement for the renovation and construction of jails on tribal lands that serve local and regional needs.

Rural law enforcement agencies can apply for $125 million in grant assistance to combat narcotics and crime. Approximately $30 million in assistance is available for law enforcement activities along the southern border and high-intensity drug trafficking areas.

The OJP will also administer a $225 million allocated to the Edward Byrne Competitive Grant Program and $150 million in grants for victim compensation and assistance and initiatives that combat Internet crimes against children.

The federal stimulus package also appropriated $1 billion for the hiring of more state and local law enforcement officers and $225 million for initiatives to combat violence against women.