The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), established by the Justice Assistance Act of 1984 and reauthorized in 1988, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist crime victims. OJP strives to make the nation’s criminal and juvenile justice systems more responsive to the needs of state, local, and tribal governments and their citizens. OJP partners with federal, state, and local agencies, and national and community-based organizations, including faith-based organizations, to develop, operate, and evaluate a wide range of criminal and juvenile justice programs. These partnerships also provide resources to fight crime and improve the quality of life and sense of safety in communities across the nation.
OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General who maintains responsibility for overall management and oversight of OJP, setting policy and ensuring that OJP policies and programs reflect the priorities of the President, the Attorney General, and the Congress. The Assistant Attorney General promotes coordination and collaboration between the bureaus and offices within OJP. OJP’s bureaus include the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime. OJP’s program offices include the Community Capacity and Development Office and the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education.
Through the programs developed and funded by its bureaus and program offices, OJP administers a mix of formula and discretionary grant programs and provides targeted training and technical assistance on “what works” and “best practices.” Although some research and technical assistance is provided directly by OJP, most of the work is accomplished through federal financial assistance to scholars, practitioners, experts, and state and local governments and agencies. Many OJP bureaus and program offices award formula grants to state agencies, which, in turn, subgrant funds to units of state and local government. Formula grant programs, in such areas as drug control and criminal justice system improvement, juvenile justice, victims compensation, and victims assistance, are administered by state agencies designated by each state’s governor. Discretionary grant funds are announced in the Federal Register or through solicitations found on the OJP website, and are competitively awarded to a variety of state, local, private, and non-profit organizations.
The major functions of the OJP are to:
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