State and local anticrime programs will get another big infusion of federal aid under the new appropriations bill approved by Congress for the current fiscal year. It was signed today by President Obama. There will be $512 million for “formula” grants under the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program and another $178.5 million for discretionary (earmarked) grants, says the National Criminal Justice Association. Another $30 million is set aside for competitive grants. All of this is on top of about $2.7 billion in the new economic stimulus law. Crime victims advocate Steve Derene forecases an increase of more than 15 percent in aid to programs benefiting victims.
The new law restores the Byrne program, which Congress had slashed to $170 million in December 2007 under a veto threat from President Bush, approximately to its previous annual level. Also included in the new appropriations bill is $500 million for the Justice Department's COPS office (not for police hiring, which is covered in the stimulus law), $400 million for state incarceration of criminal aliens (SCAAP), $190 million for the violence against women projects, and other programs. The bill includes $374 million for the Justice Department's office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, $48 million for the National Institute of Justice, which oversees research, and $45 million for the Bureau of Justice Statistics, including $26 million for the National Crime Victimization Survey.