Penalty & Byrne JAG Reallocation

Advocating for effective criminal justice policy and funding for justice assistance programs.

Penalty for Failure to Implement and Reallocation of the Penalty in the Byrne JAG Funding

The Adam Walsh Act (AWA) established a penalty for jurisdictions that failed to substantially implement the SORNA by July 27, 2011, and for any year thereafter. Currently, 16 states, three territories and 47 tribes have substantially implemented SORNA’s requirements.  The AWA provides that the amounts taken in penalty from the non-implementing jurisdictions may be returned to the non-implementing jurisdiction for the purpose of implementing SORNA, or what be reallocated to other implementing jurisdictions.

NCJA participated in discussions with the SMART Office and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) as they made determinations on the calculation of the SORNA penalty to be taken from the Byrne Justice Assistance (JAG) funds. For those jurisdictions that have not substantially implemented SORNA, BJA calculated the SORNA penalty by subtracting the 10 percent from the state’s allocation (60 percent of the total award), minus the “mandatory variable pass-through” that states are required to send to local governments. The penalty does apply to the portion of JAG funding that is awarded to the state to be shared with local governments that were not eligible for a direct JAG award (“less than $10,000 jurisdictions”).

The penalty is not assessed against the mandatory pass-through, which is the portion of JAG funds awarded directly to local law enforcement, as the state cannot retain any portion of that award. Penalizing local agencies would also seriously undermine the purpose of the statute, since doing so would be detrimental to local law enforcement efforts.

The reallocated penalty is passed through by the State Administrative Agencies (SAAs) to the agency approved by the SMART office for SORNA implementation in the state or territory.

The following jurisdictions are approved for reallocation of the funding penalty in 2013 to work solely towards furthering SORNA implementation activities and efforts:  Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.