Report shows where Byrne Justice Assistance grant money goes

Finding out the priorities from your State Administering Agency will go a long way towards obtaining financial support through the JAG Program

The National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) has released a new report titled “Cornerstone for Justice: Byrne Justice Assistance (BJA) Grant and its Impact on the Criminal Justice System,” which addresses ways in which State Administrative Agencies (SAAs) allocate Edward Byrne JAG funding. NCJA requested that SAAs provide information on how they allocate their total grant dollars across seven purpose areas, how the funds are distributed among 43 “project types” created by the NCJA, as well as a short narrative on several programs or initiatives funded by Byrne JAG. These results were tallied, analyzed and incorporated into this report. You can read the report in PDF form here.

“The Byrne JAG program is the basis for forging a strong partnership between the federal government and state, local and tribal criminal justice functions.”

Previous articles like this one by Denise Schlegel provided a snapshot of the eligible JAG purpose areas, whereas the Cornerstone for Justice Report highlights innovative approaches to emerging problems to encourage replication of programs that work.

JAG funds may be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and criminal justice information systems for criminal justice that will improve or enhance the following areas:

  • Law enforcement programs 
  • Prosecution and court programs 
  • Prevention and education programs 
  • Corrections and community correction programs 
  • Drug treatment and enforcement programs 
  • Planning, evaluation and technology improvement programs 
  • Crime victim and witness programs (other than for compensation)

According to the new report, 52 percent of the state formula grant was spent for projects fitting the law enforcement purpose area. Total Byrne JAG spending on law enforcement likely exceeds 60 percent, given that the majority of grants awarded directly by BJA to units of local government are used by local law enforcement agencies.

Within that total, local law enforcement agencies use the majority of the funds to support their primary public safety functions of equipment and operations (including for task forces), and for other needs. States are also using a significant portion of the JAG Recovery Act grants to support the hiring and retention of local law enforcement officers.

Every state uses its funding differently. Taking the time to find out the priorities from your State Administering Agency will go a long way towards obtaining financial support through the JAG Program. This report, in conjunction with, will help to take the guesswork out of your grant-writing efforts. The first step is to find out what is being funded in your state, and next researching the effectiveness of existing programs. Your application is sure to stand out when decisions are being made. The extra work upfront is worth the investment.

Good luck!

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