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How DOJ Will Spend Billions In Anticrime, Justice Improvement Aid


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The Justice Department announced new commitments as part of its Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime. Started by Attorney General Merrick Garland in May 2021, the strategy focuses on using federal resources, intelligence, and expertise as a "force-multiplier" with state, local, and Tribal law enforcement.


Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta highlighted than $334 million in grant funding to law enforcement agencies and stakeholders awarded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).


The COPS grants include funding to help law enforcement agencies hire 1,730 new officers across the U.S. while also providing funding to support school safety and continue to advance community policing nationwide

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Officials named five new cities to join the more than 50 jurisdictions part of the Office of Justice Program (OJP)’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Public Safety Partnership (PSP). The 2024 PSP sites are: Knoxville, Tenn.; Minneapolis; Raleigh, N.C.;San Antonio; and Vallejo, Calif.


On Dec. 11-13, in Indianapolis, the Justice Department will bring together up to 1,500 local and federal partners, including representatives from the more than 50 PSP jurisdictions and from Project Safe Neighborhoods for a Violent Crime Reduction Summit.


Earlier, announced the funding from money appropriated by Congress for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 in 3,760 grants for anticrime and justice system improvement projects totalling $4.4 billion.


The department said the antiviolence program includes "efforts to address gang and gun violence, based on partnerships among community residents, local government agencies, victim service providers, community-based organizations, law enforcement, hospitals, researchers, and other community stakeholders."


This year, some of the community violence funding is going to state agencies in North Carolina, Washington state, New Jersey, and Illinois to coordinate strategies in their areas.


Another new program is the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (Byrne SCIP), which offers aid for what DOJ calls state crisis intervention court proceedings, including extreme risk protection order programs (sometimes known as red flag laws) that work to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others.


The $238 million program includes mental health courts, drug courts, and veterans treatment courts.


More than $6.5 million is being devoted to "fully immersive virtual reality-based technology" that will help first responders improve their de-escalation skills to deal with people experiencing mental health crises.


The training should improve responses to individuals in crisis and improve the de-escalation skills of participants.


In addition to the community violence projects, DOJ's major grants this year fall into these key categories:


--$437 million to "accelerate justice system reforms," including expanding access to services among historically underserved and marginalized communities, reducing "counterproductive involvement in the justice system," increase opportunities for diversion from the justice system and building treatment for people with substance use and mental health disorders.


--$192 million to improve the juvenile justice system by "supporting developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive interventions for youth." Programs will endure that youth are treated "at home in their communities whenever possible" and are protected from violence and abuse.


--$1.7 billion to expand access to victim services by supporting thousands of local victim assistance programs and victim compensation programs in every state and U.S. territory.


--$418 million to support research and data collection on public safety issues, help maintain timely and accurate criminal history records and improve the capacity of crime labs and forensic analysts to solve crimes and clear the innocent.


--$192 million to improve the juvenile justice system by "supporting developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive interventions for youth." Programs will endure that youth are treated "at home in their communities whenever possible" and are protected from violence and abuse.


All DOJ grant awards can be viewed at this site. The site includes an interactive map on which viewers can find grants awarded state-by-state.

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