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A look at the US Department of Justice's Fiscal Year 2011 draft budget

The US Department of Justice recently published the 2011 President’s budget request for FY 2011 for all justice grant programs. You may find a pdf version of the proposed budget here. This document includes proposed expenditures for all expansions, reductions and new initiatives for 2011. It is recommended that every police department considering grant applications in 2011 review this document and then monitor the progress of the 2011 FY Federal budget outcomes. The six proposed appropriation accounts are as follows:

• Salaries and Expenses of the administrative function of the Office of Justice Programs
• Justice Assistance responsibility
• State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance
• Juvenile Justice Programs
• Public Safety Officer’s Benefits
• Crime Victim’s Fund

Please keep in mind this draft budget may go through a lot of changes prior to final approval by Congress but now is a good time to take a look at the proposed programs for law enforcement and related fields. The budget must be reviewed by both the US House and Senate and then return to the President’s Office for signature. Once the budget and the proposed grant funding have been authorized, it may then be posted as a grant announcement. You may find the US Department of Justice grant announcements by visiting www.ojp.gov or for a more complete federal listing of all grants at www.grants.gov.

Please review the document referenced above for complete details about the proposed grant funding amounts within the 2011 Proposed Document. According to the draft budget plan, OJP proposes to continue to address the following key areas for increasing public safety and improving fair administration of justice across America.

1) Violence, Gangs, and Drugs
While the nation as a whole is making modest progress in reducing violent crime rates, many communities and areas are struggling with violent crime issues, especially when commingled with the problems of gangs and drugs. Targeting “high impact players” is an effective strategy for preventing and reducing future crimes. Community-based strategies that bring together law enforcement with other community groups and institutions to coordinate activities to halt the spread of violence also produce safer communities. OJP will promote multi-jurisdictional, multidivisional, and multi-disciplinary programs and partnerships that increase the capacity of communities to prevent and control these serious crime problems.

2) Law Enforcement and Information Sharing
Law enforcement in the United States, unlike in most other industrialized countries, has several levels and is comprised of thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal agencies. Ensuring that all elements of the justice community share information, adopt the best practices, and respond to emerging issues with the same level of effectiveness and timeliness is a daunting task. OJP is providing national leadership and serving as a resource for the justice community through the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, among others, that focuses on defining core justice information sharing requirements and identifying challenges and solutions.

3) Tribal Justice
Violent crime rates in Indian Country are unusually high, yet tribal law enforcement resources are typically scarce, a problem exacerbated by the geographic isolation and/or vast size of many reservations. OJP targets these conditions with training and resources for problem-solving courts and coordinated law enforcement information sharing and data collection. OJP will continue to coordinate with the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs and other agencies to bring better focus to these issues.

4) Forensics, DNA, Missing Persons, and Cold Cases
From crime scene to courtroom, forensics plays a vital role in the criminal justice system. OJP develops forensic tools and technologies that will save time and money, initiates evaluations to better understanding the impact of forensic science, provides technology assistance and training, and enhances laboratory capabilities and capacity. OJP funds these activities in order to bolster the investigative power of forensics, thereby supporting the successful and informed use of DNA and other forensic evidence in court and improving the administration of justice.

5) Offender Reentry
Repeat offenders who cycle in and out of the justice system commit a significant portion of all crime and drive up the cost of operating justice agencies. These offenders often have risk factors such as mental health problems and substance abuse, limited education and literacy, inadequate job skills, and a lack of positive support systems that, if addressed, reduce the likelihood of re-offending. OJP can address these issues with three strategies: 1) community-based options for less serious offenders, such as problem-solving courts; 2) intensive, multiphase reentry programs for those who are incarcerated; and 3) research to determine effective strategies for prisoner reentry programs.

6) Juvenile Delinquency, Prevention, and Intervention
Our nation faces many challenges related to juvenile delinquency, including youth gangs and high juvenile recidivism rates. OJP strives to strengthen the capability and capacity of our juvenile-justice system to confront these challenges through prevention and intervention. OJP is working to prevent and reduce youth involvement in gangs by addressing specific risk and protective factors associated with the likelihood of delinquent behavior and the needs and desires that underlie the decision to join a gang.

7) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC)
Every day, thousands of children and teens go online to research homework assignments, play games, and chat with friends. And, everyday, sexual predators roam the Internet, posting and/or looking for child pornography and soliciting minors to engage in sexual activity. Not only are these sex-related crimes intolerable, they pose formidable challenges for law enforcement, which must adapt its investigative techniques to a constantly evolving array of technology. One way OJP addresses the proliferation of internet crimes against children is through its ICAC Task Forces, which help state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases.

8) The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act)
The Recovery Act was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. It is an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act is an extraordinary response to a crisis unlike any since the Great Depression, and includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need. The Recovery Act injected $787 billion into the economy, providing jobs and much needed resources for states and local communities. Among these resources was more than $4 billion for state and local law enforcement and other criminal and juvenile justice activities, including $2.76 billion for OJP programs.

In FY 2009, OJP awarded over 3,800 additional grants to carry out the terms of the Recovery Act, which is more than the total number of awards made in FY 2008. However, making awards is only one part of administering a grants program. These additional awards will also drive a significant increase in workload throughout the lifetime of the grants. Each grant will require programmatic and financial monitoring, training and technical assistance, outreach, auditing, etc. The Recovery Act grants will generally have periods of performance of three or four years, with the programmatic and financial closure of the grant occurring in the following year. This means the additional workload and resulting resource challenges associated with the Recovery Act will last approximately five years for OJP, at least through FY 2013. In addition to the workload increase resulting from the number of additional grant awards, OJP provided over 1,700 awards to localities that had never received a Justice Assistance Grant award. These new recipients will require a significantly higher level of support (outreach, training and technical assistance, monitoring, etc.) than experienced recipients would need.

9) Environmental Accountability
OJP has implemented several initiatives to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for its building occupants and to protect the environment by conserving energy. We have collaborated with building owners to develop opportunities to conserve both energy and water through the installation of light sensors and automatic faucets and toilets. Through our contractual efforts, priority is given to purchasing energy-efficient appliances and information technology equipment, and agency purchase ca

Highlights from this proposed budget include both increases, decreases elimination and new initiative programs:

• National Institute of Justice research, evaluation and demonstration program $70,800 (FY 2010 $48,000)
• Bureau of Justice Statistics Criminal Justice Statistics Programs $62,5000 (FY 2010 $60,000)
• Regional Information Sharing System $9,000 (FY 2010 $45,000)
• Byrne Competitive Grants $30,000 ($40,000 FY 2010)
Flat lined
• Byrne Justice Assistance Grants $519,000 (same as FY 2010)
• Bullet Proof Vest Partnership $30,000 (same as FY 2010)
Zero Funding
• Byrne Discretionary Grants eliminated ($186,268 on FY 2010)
• Drug Court Program eliminated ($45,000 FY 2010)
• In FY 2011, funding for this program will be redirected to the new Drug, Mental Health, and Problem Solving Courts initiative, which consolidates the funding stream with the Mentally Ill Offender Program, providing OJP with the flexibility to continue these efforts

• Indian Country Assistance Initiative eliminated ($90,000 FY 2010)
Although no specific funding is requested for these programs in FY 2011, OJP is requesting a seven percent set-aside for a new flexible tribal criminal justice assistance program. This set-aside will provide $139.5 million.

• Weed and Seed Program (CCDO) eliminated
Although no funding is requested for this program in FY 2011, OJP is requesting $40.0 million for a new Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program designed to replace and build on concepts employed in the Weed and Seed Program.

These are just a few of the highlights from the proposed budget. If you want to review the document in greater detail please download a copy for your desktop at . This is the time to review and research the new proposed programs, what is most likely not to be funded and what changes may be coming

Begin now to evaluate your needs for your Fiscal Year 2011 budget. Gather your data and determine your crime and community demographics to determine if your needs align with the proposed funding. It may also help to inform your local, state and federal elected officials of the FY 2011 proposed budget details which may directly impact your department. If they are aware of the impact they can more effectively work to advocate for you in the budgetary process.

Best wishes with your grant writing endeavors. Please contact me at the email address below with any questions.

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