State Administering Agencies

The NCJA represents state, tribal and local governments on crime control and crime prevention issues.

State Administering Agencies

State Administering Agencies (SAAs) are entities within state and territorial governments and the District of Columbia that are 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.

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 and 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.

Resources for SAAs

Training and Technical Assistance

NCJA, with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, provides training and technical assistance to SAAs that manage federal Byrne JAG justice funds along with a wide-ranging portfolio of other criminal and juvenile justice and victim services funds.  As the primary technical assistance provider to SAAs funded by the Department of Justice, NCJA is knowledgeable about the administration of federal and state justice funds and is uniquely positioned to assist states in the administration of federal justice funding and serve in an advisory capacity to the SAA. The TTA we provide can be adapted to the circumstances in each state and their agencies. For more information, please contact Chris Asplen, NCJA Executive Director, at casplen@ncja.org.

NCJA Center for Justice Planning

The NCJA Center for Justice Planning is a unique resource for planners at all levels of government and in all agencies and organizations responsible for developing strategies for delivering justice. Building on the knowledge and expertise of practitioners who are working to build communities through effective justice, the NCJP serves as the catalyst for transforming the practice of justice planning.

Characteristics of SAAs

Agency Location

There are 56 Byrne JAG SAAs in all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. Contact information and agency profiles for each SAA can be found on the NCJA Center for Justice Planning website.

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. 

Formula Grants Oversight

In addition to administering the Byrne JAG program, the majority of SAAs oversee other federal criminal justice formula grant programs. In FY 2013, 93 percent of SAAs administered at least four of the Department of Justice state formula grants including: Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners (RSAT) Formula Grant; Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program, the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) STOP/SASP grants, Victims of Crime Act (VOCA); the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP) and Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) formula grants. priorities. 

Strategic Planning

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 decisionmakers, 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.


This document was created with the support of Grant No. 2014-DP-BX-K004 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the SMART Office, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions are those of the authors.