BJA supports law enforcement, courts, corrections, treatment, victim services, technology, and prevention initiatives that strengthen the nation's criminal justice system at the state, tribal, and local level. BJA provides leadership, services, and funding to America's communities by:
- Emphasizing local control.
- Building relationships in the field.
- Provide training and technical assistance in support of efforts to prevent crime, drug abuse, and violence at the national, state, and local levels.
- Developing collaborations and partnerships.
- Promoting capacity building through planning.
- Streamlining the administration of grants.
- Increasing training and technical assistance.
- Creating accountability of projects.
- Encouraging innovation.
- Communicating the value of justice efforts to decision makers at every level.
On July 29, 2010, Congress passed the historic Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) (Public Law 111-211), which provided legislative authorities and resources to tribal communities across the United States to enhance their tribal justice systems. The purposes of TLOA are to:
- Clarify the responsibilities of the federal, state, tribal, and local governments with respect to crimes in Indian Country.
- Increase coordination and communication among federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies.
- Empower tribal governments with the authority, resources, and information necessary to safely and effectively provide public safety in Indian Country.
- Reduce the prevalence of violent crime in Indian Country and to combat sexual and domestic violence against Alaskan and Native American women.
- Prevent drug trafficking and reduce rates of alcohol and drug addiction in Indian Country.
- Increase and standardize the collection of criminal data to and the sharing of criminal history information among federal, state, tribal, and local officials responsible for responding to and investigating crimes in Indian Country.
TLOA authorizes expanded sentencing authority for tribal justice systems, clarifies jurisdiction in "PL 280 states," requires enhanced information sharing, authorizes liaisons within each U.S. Attorney's Office and encourages more intergovernmental collaboration between tribal, federal, state, and local governments.
TLOA creates a number of activities that must be implemented by the federal government. BJA is involved in a number of these activities:
- Revision of the Construction of Facilities on Tribal Lands Program (CFTL): the CFTL program, which supported the planning, renovation and/or construction of correctional facilities on tribal lands used for the incarceration of offenders subject to tribal jurisdiction, was modified by the TLOA. BJA is very pleased to announcement that the program has been expanded to also allow for the planning, renovation and/or construction of alternative correctional and multi-purpose justice center facilities on tribal lands. In addition, the program can also fund alternative programs to incarceration and reentry activities. These changes are reflected in the Consolidated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), Purpose Area # 4. In addition, BJA will be launching a new training and technical assistance strategy to assist federally recognized tribes in these activities in early FY 2012.
- Tribal Justice Plan to Congress: TLOA also directs the completion of a number of efforts within the Executive Branch within a year of the statute's passage, July 11, 2011. This includes the mandate in three sections of TLOA (211(f); 241(g)(1); and 244(b)(3)) to create plans to address the Long Term Detention Needs in Indian Country. These needs include building and operating correctional facilities, as well as alternatives to detention and treatment. The plans are to be created by DOJ and the Department of the Interior (DOI) through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Based upon discussions, DOI and DOJ have agreed to create a coordinated and combined Tribal Justice Plan and have created a federal interagency work group composed of Justice, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture staff to support the creation of a dynamic approach which will inform future agency planning. The report will identify Challenges, Strategies, Gaps, Resources, and Federal Support in the areas of Alternatives to Detention, Detention and Reentry. The report will also incorporate significant input of Tribal Leaders, Courts, Corrections and Law Enforcement staff and community members. See the Outreach Plan below to participate.
- Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse MOA and Plans: BJA is a partner with the Indian Health Service's and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) update to the Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) and support for tribes' development of Tribal Action Plans on substance abuse, alcohol, and crime.
- Intergovernmental Collaboration: Under section 222, TLOA directs the Attorney General to provide technical assistance on strategies to promote intergovernmental collaboration between state, tribal, and local partners to develop successful cooperative relationships that effectively combat crime in Indian country and nearby communities. As part of this effort, BJA is working with other federal partners and other training and technical assistance partners such as the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), Center for Court Innovation (CCI), and the Tribal Law and Policy Institute to offer assistance in these efforts.
BJA oversees four programs which primarily serve tribal communities:
- Tribal Courts Assistance Program (TCAP): TCAP provides grants, policy leadership, training, and technical assistance to support federally recognized tribal nations in the development, implementation, enhancement, and continuing operation of tribal judicial systems. For more information, see the TCAP program page.
- Correctional Systems and Correctional Alternatives on Tribal Lands (CSCATL) Program (formerly the Construction of Facilities on Tribal Lands Program): CSCATL provides grants, policy leadership, training, and technical assistance to support federally recognized tribal nations in the planning, renovation and construction of tribal justice facilities on tribal lands, including detention facilities, alternatives to detention and multi-justice centers. The program also supports the assessment of correctional needs, the development of alternative to incarceration strategies, and reentry activities. For more information, see the Correctional Systems and Correctional Alternatives program page.
- Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program (IASAP): IASAP provides grants, policy leadership, training, and technical assistance to support federally recognized tribal nations to plan, implement, or enhance tribal justice strategies to address crime issues related to alcohol and substance abuse. For more information, see the IASAP program page.
- Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance Program (TCCLA): TCAP provides grants, policy leadership, training, and technical assistance to support federally recognized tribal nations in enhancing their tribal justice systems and improving access to those systems. The grants are targeted to non-profit organizations and serve to strengthen and improve the representation of indigent defendants in criminal cases and indigent respondents in civil causes of action under the jurisdiction of Indian tribes. For more information, see the TCCLA page.
Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation
In FY 2010, DOJ launched the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), which encompassed most of the Department's available tribal government-specific grant programs. Through CTAS, in FY 2010 the Department awarded nearly $127 million to communities. The communities are using these funds to enhance law enforcement, bolster justice systems, prevent youth substance abuse, serve sexual assault and elder victims, and support other efforts to combat crime.
In FY 2011, CTAS Purpose Areas 3 and 4 can support tribal strategies to enhance sentencing authority by addressing requirements and in expanding tribal detention strategies to multipurpose centers and alternatives to incarceration.
In addition, BJA has other funding opportunities which tribes are eligible to apply for to support the development and enhancement strategies. For example, tribes may apply for funding under Second Chance Act to support tribal offender reentry strategies and to create Healing to Wellness courts under the Drug Court Discretionary grant program. For a list of BJA funding opportunities, see the Funding page.