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BJA's Justice Today
April/May 2017   
In the Spotlight

The MOV Program opened on May 31, 2017, and is now accepting nominations for the 2016-2017 MOV. The MOV was created by Congress to be the highest national award for valor, honoring the everyday services of public safety officers who have risked their lives to protect America’s citizens and communities. The National Medal of Valor Office encourages federal, state, local, and tribal public safety agencies to nominate their public safety personnel who have exhibited acts of extraordinary valor above and beyond the call of duty. Qualifying acts must have taken place between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017. The President or Vice President awards the MOV in a White House ceremony.

The nomination period for the 2016-2017 MOV will close on July 31, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. (ET). Nominations must be submitted by or at the direction of the agency head for each nominee.

News You Can Use

JRI Update: Legislation Passes in Four States
Eight states in Phase I of BJA’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) this spring have received their analyses and recommendations from JRI technical assistance (TA) providers: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Based on the analyses and recommendations delivered by the JRI TA providers, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, and Georgia have passed legislation. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Arkansas Act 423 on March 8; North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed House Bill 1041 on April 21, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the Georgia Bill on May 9, and Montana Governor Steve Bullock is planning a ceremonial bill signing later this summer. The other states have either introduced legislation (Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma) or anticipate introducing legislation (Pennsylvania).

BJA and PERF Release New Report on Cybercrime
BJA and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) have released a new report, The Utah Model: A Path Forward for Investigating and Building Resilience to Cyber Crime. As new internet-based technologies are introduced, cybercrime is growing exponentially, both in the proliferation of crimes and the associated impact on victims concerning financial loss, invasion of privacy, blackmail, and threats to our national security. To respond to this ever-changing threat, national and local police agencies across the globe continue to explore ways to coordinate resources with each other and attack the problem. This document highlights the many promising practices of the Utah State Model in support of “Operation Wellspring” and related efforts involving law enforcement leaders, cyber investigators, fusion center staff, emergency management personnel, and other national subject matter experts working in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This publication serves as a foundational national document, strategically targeted to governors, their staff, and others to guide and inform their policies and practices. BJA thanks the Utah Department of Public Safety, FBI, DHS, International Association of Chiefs of Police, RAND Corporation, National White Collar Crime Center, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Association of State Chief Information Officers, Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, and others for their contributions to this report.

New Resource Guide for Drafting or Revising Tribal Criminal Laws Against Sexual Assault and Stalking
The Tribal Legal Code Resource: Sexual Assault and Stalking Laws is designed to assist Native nations interested in developing or revising victim-centered laws on sexual assault and stalking. This resource includes sample language and exercise questions designed to guide discussion on what laws will best reflect tribal values. Originally published in June 2008, this resource was most recently revised and updated in April 2017 to reflect innovations in tribal law and new federal requirements. This revised publication includes chapters that focus on substantive areas crucial to any Tribal Sexual Assault and Stalking Code including:

  • Protection Orders
  • Sexual Assault of a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner
  • Inclusion of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 2013 Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ)
  • Victim Advocate privilege
  • Expanded stalking sections—includes substantially more tribal stalking code examples

New Resource Guide for Drafting or Revising Tribal Civil Dependency and Related Laws
The Guide for Drafting or Revising Tribal Civil Dependency and Related Laws is designed to assist Native nations in drafting or revising their civil dependency laws as part of the development or reform of their child welfare system. Topics covered range from incorporating custom and tradition, to child-in-need-of-assistance proceedings, to foster care in Native nations.

This new publication includes 14 chapters that focus on substantive areas crucial to any tribal child welfare system, including jurisdiction; Indian Child Welfare Act transfers and interventions; definitions of child maltreatment; evidence rules; reporting and investigation; preventing physical removal of children from their homes; permanency planning, placement, and visitation; modification of parental rights, and customary adoption and guardianship. This publication also contains guidance on federal legal issues that Native nations must keep in mind, including issues related to Title IV-E and IV-B of the Social Security Act.

In Focus This Month

North Dakota Governor Signs Landmark JRI Bill
On April 21, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum held a press conference announcing the signing of a “landmark justice reinvestment bill.” The bill is part of a legislative package (HB 1041 and SB 2015) containing the justice reinvestment policy framework and additional reform policies developed in collaboration with BJA’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). Governor Burgum also announced the signing of other legislation to improve the criminal justice system (HB 1269 and HB 1341). A $7.5-million reinvestment in community behavioral health services is the centerpiece of the new laws.

The passage of this bill package marks a watershed moment in the discussions in North Dakota concerning how to achieve greater public safety outcomes at less cost to taxpayers. State officials and policymakers characterize the community behavioral health reinvestment as a historic achievement from this legislative session that will be remembered for years to come.

Grants and Funding

Visit BJA's Funding Page to stay up-to-date on BJA solicitations.

BJA is a component of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). Visit OJP's Funding Resource Center to find OJP funding opportunities, an overview of OJP’s grant process, and more.

Funding Resource Center

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program

Enacted in 1976, the PSOB Program provides death, disability, and education benefits to those eligible for the program. Visit the PSOB website to apply for these federal benefits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders killed or catastrophically disabled in the line of duty. For questions regarding the PSOB Program, call the PSOB Office at 888-744-6513 (toll-free) or 202-307-0635.

Did You Know?

BJA NTTAC Releases Spring 2017 BJA TTA Provider Directory
The BJA National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) released the Spring 2017 BJA Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Provider Directory to connect the criminal justice community to experts with a wealth of justice knowledge and experience. The free, easy-to-use, downloadable guide includes a description, contact information, area(s) of expertise, and BJA-funded projects for current BJA TTA grantees. Using this resource, justice-related organizations can quickly identify providers with expertise on a range of topics and services, from enhancing community corrections to offering leadership training for law enforcement. Access the updated BJA TTA Provider Directory now.

Validating and Enhancing Parole Risk Assessment Tools in Rhode Island
As criminal justice policymakers work to improve statewide corrections systems, many recognize a national need to reevaluate and enhance parole release decision-making tools, guidelines, and policies. Through a BJA NTTAC technical assistance engagement, the Center for Effective Public Policy worked with the Rhode Island Parole Board to study recidivism among its parole population, determine whether its parole risk assessment tool still effectively evaluated the likelihood of recidivism, and incorporate the improved instrument into the state’s parole standards and decision-making processes. To learn more about BJA NTTAC’s work in Rhode Island, read the latest TTA Spotlight article.

Featured Program
National Drug Court Month
BJA joined the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) in recognizing National Drug Court Month in May. This year, the focus was on encouraging every treatment court to invite their congressional representatives to attend a drug court graduation ceremony and to work to ensure continued funding. For more information, see NADCP’s National Drug Court Month Resource Center.

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