Karhlton Moore, longtime director of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, was named director of the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a key DOJ agency that allots about $2 billion each year to anticrime programs around the nation.
President Biden made the appointment, one of the few so far from the White House in DOJ's Office of Justice Programs.
In Ohio, Moore oversaw state and federal grants for law enforcement, victim assistance, juvenile justice, crime prevention, courts, anti-trafficking efforts, reentry, corrections programs and traffic safety.
“Karhlton Moore is known as a collaborator who gets things done, an innovator who looks for practical solutions and a practitioner-focused professional who bases his decisions on what the evidence shows,” said Amy Solomon, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the DOJ division where Moore's agency is located. .
Moore has led Ohio’s justice grantmaking since 2005, serving governors of both major parties. He has advised on criminal justice strategies and developed a plan to use funding under the federal American Rescue Plan Act to address violent crime, officer wellness and recruitment, and other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the criminal justice system.
He was the facilitator for former Ohio Gov, John Kasich’s Task Force on Community-Police Relations, precursor of the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. The Ohio Collaborative iestablishes standards for law enforcement agencies as part of the state’s effort to strengthen community-police relations.
Moore has been a member of the National Criminal Justice Association advisory council and executive committee and was president of its board of directors.
“I'm looking forward to working with criminal justice stakeholders, practitioners and others from across the country to make our communities safer,” Moore said.
Moore helped create the Ohio Consortium of Crime Science, an association of researchers from colleges, universities and state agencies who worked to provide evidence-based solutions to problems faced by local criminal justice agencies.
He also participated in the Ohio Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, a partnership of cities throughout the state that brings together communities, law enforcement officials and social service providers to reduce gang and group homicides. The initiative is credited with significant reductions in homicides and shootings in target cities.
His new agency aids law enforcement,, prosecutors, court and corrections officials, treatment providers and community-based partners address criminal justice challenges, from reentry to violent crime to behavioral health issues in the justice system.
The National Criminal Justice Association, which represents states and criminal justice programs nationwide in Washington, said Moore's agency has served as a model for state anticrime agencies.
The association said Moore "has shown he is a careful listener who solicits a range of perspectives to fund and implement innovative and effective programs that protect the community and save lives."
BJA’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants Program is the largest source of federal funding for state, local and tribal criminal justice operations.
Moore takes over from Kristen Mahoney, who has served as BJA’s acting director since January 2021 and will resume her role as the office’s principal deputy director.
After more than a year in office, President Biden has yet to name an Assistant Attorney General to head Moore's parent agency, the Office of Justice Programs, or directors of other DOJ agencies including the National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.