Bipartisan group of senators press for funding for crime prevention grants program

Sixty percent of Byrne JAG funds are allocated to states for programs in local communities while the remaining 40 percent is provided directly to communities via a state-wide competitive grant process.

In 2010, more than 1,500 local jurisdictions across the country were awarded direct grants, and many more were awarded funds passed through by the state criminal justice planning agencies.  

"These funds are helping to alleviate funding shortfalls and allowing continued emphasis on drug and gang violence, recidivism reduction, drug treatment and enforcement, corrections, prosecution and court programs, and prevention and education," the letter said. 

The program is a partnership among federal, state and local governments that tailors federal law enforcement grants to the needs of different communities. It supports a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime and improve the criminal justice system that include: law enforcement programs, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections programs; drug treatment programs and planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs, the letter outlined. 

"One of the keys to the Byrne JAG program’s continuing success is its flexibility, the senators wrote. "Federal dollars can be used in a wide variety of capacities at the local level in the way most appropriate to address local community needs across the criminal justice spectrum, and allows localities to balance resources and react to urgent challenges or changing circumstances."

JAG grants are allocated based on a formula of population and violent crime statistics, in combination with a minimum allocation to ensure that each state and territory receives an appropriate share of funding. 

The letter was signed by Cantwell and Sens. 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