In this section
- Mission Statement
- NCJA Organization
- Advisory Council
- NCJA Leadership
- NCJA Resume
- Policy Statements
- About SAAs
- NCJA Partnerships
- Become a Member
- NCJA Staff
An Overview of State Administering Agencies (SAAs)
State Administering Agencies (SAAs) are entities within state and territorial governments responsible for comprehensive criminal justice planning and policy development. In addition, these agencies allocate resources statewide and distribute, monitor and report on spending under the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program and, in most cases, other grant programs. As required by federal statute, the SAA is designated by the Governor, or in the case of territories and the District of Columbia, the head of the executive branch of government. In total, there are 56 Edward Byrne JAG SAAs across the 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia.
Structure of SAA Offices
Most SAAs are a component of the Governor’s (or Mayor’s) office; a free-standing criminal justice planning entity or a division of the state department of public safety. In addition to location, the mission, vision and strategic focus of an SAA is often defined by state statutes. Due to differences in location, formula grants administered, research capacity and the leadership selection processes, SAAs are a diverse group of government agencies with differing capacities, perspectives, missions and priorities.
The table below illustrates placement of the office, department, and division of the 56 state and territorial SAAs.
As the executive branch agency designated to accept, plan and distribute criminal justice funds, SAAs seek to leverage state and federal grant dollars to address the needs of statewide and local criminal justice systems. Because of this responsibility, SAAs serve as the primary coordinating body for state and local public safety issue identification, system collaboration, policy development, and system planning an implementation. These responsibilities require SAAs to work closely with a myriad of state and local entities including: law enforcement, prosecution and defense agencies, court systems, corrections departments, non-profit service providers and professional associations.
In addition to administering the Byrne JAG program, the majority of SAAs oversee the other federal criminal justice formula grant programs. In 2011, 75 percent of SAAs administered at least four of the Department of Justice state formula grants: the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) STOP grants, Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program, Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners (RSAT) Formula Grant.
As the principal entity responsible for strategic resource allocation, SAAs are often called upon to lead statewide or grant specific planning efforts. Due to their grant making and monitoring functions, SAAs are often uniquely positioned to identify and convene stakeholders from across the justice system. Through the use of strategic planning SAAs ensure that both federal grant funds and state resources are effectively leveraged to address the needs of state and local criminal justice systems.
Governing Boards and Councils
In an effort to better serve the criminal justice community SAA offices often staff and work closely with high level governing boards and state level advisory councils. These boards and councils, comprised of state and local level decision-makers, help the SAA establish policy and priorities, analyze statewide trends, identify recourses, and share successful program models. These councils and boards often help guide strategic criminal justice investment, create policy and practice recommendations and guide future criminal justice initiatives.