With many federal government appropriations threatened with cuts in the year starting Oct. 1, the National Criminal Justice Association has issued a report explaining the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, which provides much of the federal aid to states and localities for crime fighting. Byrne JAG grants have totalled about $500 million in recent years, although they were cut by a total of 17 percent in the current fiscal year to about $430 million.
Uses of the funds vary by location and year, but more than 60 percent of them are used for law enforcement purposes, NCJA says. In fact, no other category, such as prosecution, courts, corrections, and crime victims, gets more than 15 percent. The new report describes in detail how the money is spent, with examples from many states. The report also discusses the need for states to engage in planning and establishing funding priorities. It says that in recent years, states “have reinvigorated their strategic planning and re-emphasized their commitment to science and evidence-based approaches to preventing and fighting crime. This comes as an emphasis and priority on evidence-based approaches has been growing, and as government agency budgets have been tightening.”