BJA's Justice Today
January 2011
In the Spotlight

BJA's Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program is the leading source of federal justice funding to state, local, and tribal jurisdictions and supports a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and courts, prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, planning, evaluation, and technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives. Below is one of the many successful initiatives made possible by JAG funding.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has been using JAG funding to support the development of county-level Criminal Justice Advisory Boards (CJABS). CJABs—groups of top-level county officials which address criminal justice issues from a systemic and policy-level perspective—study best practices in the administration and delivery of criminal justice and recommend ways in which public agencies can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system within their county. Through a competitive grant process, the PCCD made funding available to counties that enabled them to engage a coordinator or facilitator to help build the infrastructure for the CJABs.  JAG funding was also made available to support the direct implementation of projects through already-established CJABs.  CJABs, for instance, have used this funding to support data-sharing efforts among various components at the local level. JAG funding also supports technical assistance that encourages the use of evidence-based practices by CJABs and provides a conduit to ensure that issues at the county level are communicated at the state level so that statewide plans are developed to meet local needs.  For example, this state-local collaboration resulted in additional state resources being made available to support locals in their efforts to better develop strategies to address individuals with mental illness involved in the criminal justice system. 

Visit the JAG Showcase for other success stories.

Do you have a JAG success story? Send it to

News You Can Use

Upcoming Webinar on Technology in the Courtroom
BJA's National Training and Technical Assistance Center invites you to participate in the "Social Media and Trial by Jury: Identifying Problems, Designing Solutions" webinar on February 8 at 2:00 p.m. e.t. While convenience and accessibility to information are unparalleled, our use of hand-held devices presents large challenges for the management of jury trials. For example, jurors' use of Internet-enabled devices can cause expensive mistrials, and Internet research done by lawyers may infringe upon the privacy of jurors. What can the bench and the bar do to address this new world of social media communication? Can we accommodate the proper use of texting and tweeting during a jury trial? This webinar will help define the challenges and chart practical solutions.

New E-Learning Course for Law Enforcement Available
The Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program offers an introductory e-learning course, Building Blocks of a Law Enforcement Volunteer Program, which addresses the principles of starting a law enforcement volunteer program. This 2-hour course is designed for persons charged with implementing a program in state, local, tribal, or campus law enforcement agencies and can be completed in one sitting or at your own speed.

Grants and Funding

The following competitive solicitations are open:

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program
Enacted in 1976, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program provides death, disability, and education benefits to those eligible for the program. For details regarding these federal benefits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders killed or catastrophically disabled in the line of duty, call the PSOB Office toll-free at 888–744–6513 or 202–307–0635, or visit the PSOB web site.
Did You Know?

That the FY 2009 JAG Program supports 426 state and local multijurisdictional task forces nationwide, and approximately 75 percent of Recovery Act JAG funds were used to purchase equipment (mostly computers and cruisers) in FY 2010?

Featured Program

During the last year, BJA launched a new project with the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) to assist State Administering Agencies (SAAs) to strategically invest their JAG funding. With NCJA, BJA has been working with SAAs and the State Analytical Centers (SACs), their research and data analysis partners, to engage in strategic planning to assess needs based upon data, develop priorities, and invest JAG funding in strategies that are research- or evidence-based and address the priority needs. During 2010, BJA and NCJA summarized current investments and needs, hosted regional meetings with SAAs and SACs to highlight the great strategies being implemented, and offered targeted assistance to states seeking to engage in planning.

Stay tuned: BJA and NCJA will soon launch a web site where users can learn about strategic planning efforts across the country.

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