Department of Justice to provide $57 million to support justice system reforms and racial equity | Takeover bid

The Department of Justice announced today that it will provide nearly $57 million to support criminal justice reform and advance racial equity in the criminal justice system. The grants will advance the ministry’s goal of promoting fairness in the nation’s courts and prison systems and aligning criminal justice practices with the latest scientific advances.

“Equal justice is not a self-executing proposition – it takes work to make it happen – and it will take a collective commitment from all of us at the federal, state and local levels to bring this ideal to life,” said the Associate Attorney General. Vanita Gupta. “These investments deliver on the Department of Justice’s commitment to promote public safety and fulfill the promise of a just society that recognizes the dignity and humanity of everyone.”

The funding will support efforts at the state, territory, local and tribal levels to institute more effective and equitable criminal justice policies and practices. Funding will also support strategies to ensure the protection of the constitutional rights and safety of defendants and incarcerated persons, as well as efforts to address wrongful convictions. The grants are administered by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs.

The Department of Justice, through OJP, works to advance the fairness and efficiency of the justice system. Below is a summary of awards that support justice system reforms and advance racial equity:

  • OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance is providing eight million dollars under the Insider in the field: encouraging innovation program, designed to support new and innovative strategies that enable criminal justice systems to better prevent and respond to emerging and chronic challenges, including strategies that will increase opportunities for diversion, reform pre-trial processes, build trust between police and the community and will promote restorative justice and racial equity.

  • BJA grants five million dollars as part of the National initiatives – Justice for all: training and technical assistance program in the effective administration of criminal justicethat helps state, local, and tribal jurisdictions reduce crime and improve the functioning of the criminal justice system, including supporting statewide strategic planning and the protection of constitutional rights under the Sixth Amendment.

  • BJA grants 9.8 million dollars as part of the Justice Implementation Program Mattersthat helps states adopt a core set of criminal justice measures so that decision makers have access to actionable data to make policy and budget decisions.

  • BJA grants three million dollars as part of its Reinventing justice: testing a new model of community safety initiative, which will fund the development and testing of a new or innovative approach to improving community safety and confidence that is an alternative to traditional enforcement mechanisms for neighborhoods experiencing high rates of violations less serious and low-intensity criminal charges.

  • OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime is awarding nearly $300,000 through the Better understand the needs and resources of victims of harm related to the criminal justice system program to better understand the service needs of those affected by an error or failure in the criminal justice system, to develop best practices for identifying these victims, to determine if there are currently services that can meet the needs of this victim population and offer recommendations for appropriate service delivery, resources, partnerships and tools.

  • OVC is granting five million dollars as part of the Bridging the Inequalities – Legal services and enforcement of victims’ rights for underserved communities program to increase access to legal aid for victims of crime in underserved communities by creating and training a cadre of 20 legal fellows who will be hosted by organizations across the country and located in communities underserved.

  • OVC awards $4.9 million under the Improving Access to Services for Victims program to improve and expand the availability of accessible victim-centered and trauma-informed services for victims of crime who are disabled, deaf, hard of hearing, with limited English proficiency, blind and/or have disabilities visual ; fund direct services accessible to these victims; provide specialized training and technical assistance to help victim support organizations develop and implement accessibility plans; and identify innovative approaches to serve these victims in order to replicate them on the ground.

  • OVC grants two million dollars to Ujima to support the National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Communitywhich will provide micro-grants to victim support organizations run by/for the communities they serve with the overarching goal of increasing the number of victims accessing services in historically marginalized and underserved communities.

  • OJP’s National Institute of Justice is awarding nearly $800,000 as part of its Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System: A Survey of Existing Evidence and Implications for Public Policy program, which will support a comprehensive evidence-based analysis of existing evidence to examine how observed racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system could be reduced through public policy.

  • BJA grants 2.9 million dollars as part of the National Training and Technical Assistance: Capital Punishment Litigation Initiativewhich helps states minimize the risk of error in the trial of capital cases, improve the quality of legal representation provided to indigent defendants in capital cases, and assist state attorneys in developing and implementing appropriate standards of practice and qualification.

  • BJA awards $7.6 million as part of its Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions Programthat supports the efforts of wrongful conviction review entities that represent individuals who have declared their innocence after conviction to review individual cases.

  • BJA grants 6.5 million dollars as part of the DNA evidence post-conviction testing program, which helps defray the costs associated with post-conviction case reviews, evidence location, and DNA testing in violent crime cases (as defined by state law) where the results of these tests could show actual innocence.

In addition to the awards described above, Clark University in Atlanta received $1.2 million under the NIJ Research and evaluation on violence against women portfolio to conduct a campus climate survey at three historically black colleges and universities. NIJ also awarded $2.7 million in grants under the WEB Du Bois Research Program on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System to conduct rigorous research that will help advance knowledge about the links between race, crime, violence, and the administration of justice in the United States. These grants were announced earlier and are not included in the total for this announcement.

More information about these and other OJP awards can be found at OJP Grants Page.

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s ability to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, help victims and strengthen the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.

Donald E. Patel