Message From the Director

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, was created in 1984 to strengthen the nation’s criminal justice system through leadership and services in grant administration and policy development. For 30 years, BJA has been a national leader in developing policy, programs, and sound grant management that support America’s state, local, and tribal strategies to prevent crime, reduce recidivism, and promote a fair and safe criminal justice system.

BJA focuses its program and policy efforts on leveraging grant funding, training and technical assistance (TTA), partnerships, and diverse local and national resources to address chronic and emerging criminal justice challenges nationwide. To accomplish its mission, BJA provides innovative, evidence-based, and results-driven criminal justice policy; nurtures longstanding and productive partnerships within the field; promotes accountability among partners; and encourages local control of programs.

This Report to Congress highlights key resources that BJA provided to the field in fiscal year (FY) 2012, demonstrating the many examples of how these resources enabled our stakeholders to work with partners and communities to build exciting, worthwhile projects tailored to their local needs and conditions. Some of the most successful initiatives described in this report sprang from good ideas that were generated in the field.

Officer safety continues to be a primary focus for BJA. BJA’s VALOR (Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement and Ensuring Officer Resiliency and Survivability) program is a national officer safety initiative that provides evidence-based TTA to help prevent violence against law enforcement officers and ensure their resilience and survivability following violent encounters. VALOR training is based on research and lessons learned from past incidents. As part of the VALOR initiative, BJA’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) supports the increased demand for active shooter response training. BJA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have partnered to develop and offer ALERRT free of charge to state and local law enforcement throughout the nation.

BJA’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative is a data-driven approach to improving public safety by reducing corrections and related criminal justice spending and reinvesting the savings into strategies that can strengthen neighborhoods and decrease crime. To date, competitive awards have been made to national TTA providers that offer free, direct services to states. Thirty-five jurisdictions now participate in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.

Another important effort is our Second Chance Act (SCA) programs, which focus on reducing recidivism, incorporating evidence-based strategies, and evaluating the effectiveness and impact of reentry programs. SCA activities provide site-based awards, TTA, evaluation expertise, and other resources for high-risk returning citizens. Programs include mentoring and transitional services, technology career training for adults and juveniles, assisting adults and juveniles with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders, family-based adult substance abuse treatment, and research and knowledge transfer. To date, grants have been made to 500 recipients in 48 states.

BJA also provided funding in support of the 2012 Republican and Democratic Conventions to the two host cities—Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina. The funding addressed extraordinary law enforcement expenditures, including overtime pay, onsite analytical support, and technical assistance. As a result of BJA’s assistance, the two host cities were able to efficiently purchase and procure all the necessary equipment, provide required overtime, and fund all the extraordinary law enforcement and related security costs, which enabled them to ensure top security and safety for all the officials and participants at the conventions. In cooperation with the two host cities and its TTA provider CNA, BJA published the first After Action Report to assist law enforcement in planning for security for future large-scale national events, which is available at

BJA administers the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions: the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. JAG provides states, tribes, and local governments with funding to support activities in seven purpose areas: law enforcement; courts (prosecution, defense, and indigent defense); crime prevention and education; corrections and community corrections; drug treatment and enforcement; planning, evaluation, and technology improvement; and crime victim and witness initiatives. In FY 2012, BJA awarded 1,128 local and 56 state JAG grants totaling more than $287 million.

As BJA Director, I am proud of the role we played in the success of these programs and the numerous other programs and initiatives that BJA funded in FY 2012. I applaud the many achievements of the men and women in the justice field who, with the support of BJA and collaborative efforts at the state and local levels, have made such a difference in their communities. I look forward to addressing future challenges together and sharing our success with the many partners that make it possible.

The online version of this report, available at, also includes links to our partners and the resources mentioned throughout the report as well as access to a searchable database of BJA funding by state and locality, program, and fiscal year.


Denise E. O’Donnell