The U.S. Department of Justice will award almost $57 million to support criminal justice reform and advance racial equity in the justice system. DOJ said the grants will advance the goal of promoting fairness in the nation’s courts and corrections systems and align criminal justice practices with the latest science. “Equal justice is not a self-executing proposition — it takes work to make it real — and it will take a collective commitment from all of us at the federal, state and local levels to bring that ideal to life,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. Funding will also support strategies to ensure the protection of defendants’ and incarcerated individuals’ constitutional rights and safety and efforts to address wrongful convictions.
Among the new grants, the Bureau of Justice Assistance is awarding eight million dollars under the Field Initiated: Encouraging Innovation program, designed to support new and innovative strategies that better enable criminal justice systems to prevent and respond to emerging and chronic challenges. BJA also is awarding five million dollars under the National Initiatives - Justice for All: Effective Administration of Criminal Justice Training and Technical Assistance Program, which supports statewide strategic planning and protection of constitutional rights under the Sixth Amendment. Nearly $10 million will be given to the Justice Counts Implementation Program, which helps states adopt a core set of criminal justice metrics so policymakers have access to data to make policy and budgetary decisions. BJA is awarding three million dollars under its Reimagining Justice: Testing a New Model of Community Safety initiative, which will fund the development of a new or innovative approach to improving community safety and trust that is an alternative to traditional enforcement mechanisms for neighborhoods experiencing high rates of low-level criminal offenses.