Supervising offenders in the community and preparing offenders for their return to their communities are critical to protecting public safety. Community supervision officers must balance the time required to manage growing caseloads and their desire to provide offenders with the services they need to become law abiding citizens.
Around the country, state and local probation and parole officials are utilizing more effective ways to meet these challenges by enhancing partnerships between correctional agencies, law enforcement, faith-based community organizations (including non-profits), victim services, and other stakeholders. These partnerships not only increase the safety of supervision officers, but also offer more services, better results and at a potentially lower cost to the field, and increase communication, information sharing, and collaboration.
BJA strives to enhance and promote the corrections field by administering various programs through federal award assistance to criminal justice agencies and community providers, providing training and technical assistance (TTA) resources covering broad subject areas to the field, assistance through alternatives to traditional incarceration, and other resources.
BJA's Corrections Programs
Some of the annual corrections-focused programs that BJA administers include the following:
- Second Chance Act: Through the Second Chance Act, BJA supports reentry programs that provide needed training, treatment, and supervision to individuals as they attempt to re-enter society. The purpose of these reentry programs is reducing recidivism, incorporating research evidence-based strategies in both pre and post-release settings, and evaluating the effectiveness and impact of reentry programs, across various subject areas. Eligible applicants include federal awards to states, local government agencies, federally recognized Tribes, and non-profit organizations to support reentry programs that provide the training, treatment, and supervision that offenders need when they reenter our communities.
- Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI): JRI is a data-driven approach to reducing corrections and related criminal justice spending and reinvesting savings in strategies designed to increase public safety. States and localities engaging in JRI collect and analyze data on the factors driving the growth in criminal justice populations and costs, identify and implement changes to increase efficiencies, and measure both the fiscal and public safety impacts of those changes.
- Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA): Under the PREA Program BJA provides a site-based program that provides awards to state governments for comprehensive demonstration projects within state, local, and tribal adult and juvenile confinement settings, including jails and juvenile detention facilities, law enforcement lockups and other temporary holding facilities, and tribal detention facilities. In addition, BJA also administers the national PREA Resource Center. Both of these resources focus on establishing zero-tolerance and the elimination of sexual assault, victimization, and staff sexual misconduct in confinement environments.
- Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP): Through PIECP, BJA certifies that local or state prison industry programs meet all the necessary requirements to be exempt from federal restrictions on prisoner-made goods in interstate commerce. The program lifts restrictions on prisoner made goods for certified state correctional agencies and allows prisoners to acquire marketable skills that help them find meaningful employment after their release.
- Correctional Facilities on Tribal Land Program: Resources under this program may be used to help tribes construct and/or renovate correctional facilities on tribal lands used for the incarceration of offenders subject to tribal jurisdiction. Upon completion, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), U.S. Department of the Interior and/or tribal grantees are responsible for supporting, operating, and maintaining the correctional facilities.
Additional Correctional TTA and Other Resources
In addition to the specific correctional programs listed above, BJA also administers TTA opportunities and other programs to further assist the corrections field.
- Discover Corrections: BJA is addressing workforce development issues in corrections by providing funds to the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) for the Discover Corrections website. The website focuses on corrections as a profession and presents the correctional field in a very positive and comprehensive manner. In addition, the website provides detailed information about the field as well as specific job opportunities that can serve as a resource for anyone seeking a better understanding of the profession.
- National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC): Serves as the TTA provider for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Second Chance Act competitive site-based adult and juvenile grantees, and also provides distance learning education, training, and technical assistance and other reentry resources to the field that includes states, Tribes, territories, local governments, service providers, nonprofit organizations, corrections institutions, and people returning home.
- National Parole Resource Center (NPRC): Supports and shapes the future of parole as an increasingly effective stakeholder in the criminal justice system. Awarded to The Center for Effective Public Policy (CEPP), in partnership with The Association of Paroling Authorities International (APAI), and operated in collaboration with BJA and the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), the NPRC maintains links with a growing network of organizations that provides information and guidance on substantive topics and related resources.
- National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women (NRCJIW): In partnership with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), BJA established the National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women (NRCJIW) to address the unique and complex needs of adult women involved in the criminal justice system. NIC will continue to deliver products and services to the field specific to justice-involved women, and will work closely with BJA and the Resource Center to assure a coordinated approach.
- PREA Resource Center (PRC): Serves as a national resource for online and direct support, TTA, and research to assist adult and juvenile corrections, tribal detention, and law enforcement professionals in their ongoing work for establishing zero-tolerance and the elimination of sexual assault, victimization, and staff sexual misconduct in confinement environments. The PRC assists the field with better identifying and promulgating best and promising practices and assisting correctional agencies in the implementation of the National PREA standards.
- Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program: JAG funds may be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and criminal justice information systems that will improve or enhance areas such as the following below: Corrections and community corrections programs; Law enforcement programs; Prosecution and court programs; Prevention and education programs; Drug treatment and enforcement programs; Planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs; Crime victim and witness programs (other than compensation).
- National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC): NTTAC serves as a major source of justice-related TTA information and resources to improve criminal justice systems nationwide. NTTAC works to improve the justice system by providing rapid, expert, coordinated, and data-driven training and technical assistance that support practitioners in state, local, and tribal communities in improving local justice system responses.
Evaluation Information and Tools
BJA’s Center for Program Evaluation and Performance Management maintains a user-friendly online evaluation and performance measurement tool designed to assist state and local criminal justice planners, practitioners, State Administrati ve Agencies, researchers, and evaluators in: 1) conducting evaluations and performance measurement that will address the effectiveness and efficiency of their projects and 2) using evaluation information to improve program planning and implementation. Visit the Center for Program Evaluation and Performance Management site to learn more.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) — the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice — is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science. NIJ provides objective and independent knowledge and tools to reduce crime and promote justice, particularly at the state and local levels. Access the NIJ site for further information and access to research materials.
OJP’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) collects, analyzes, publishes, and disseminates information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government. These data are critical to federal, state, and local policymakers in combating crime and ensuring that justice is both efficient and evenhanded. See the BJS site for a ccess to data on a variety of topics.