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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Attorney General Holder Announces Recovery Act Tribal Crime Data Project

WASHINGTON – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today announced that $1 million in Recovery Act funds has been awarded to Westat Inc. and its partner Northern Arapaho Tribal Industries (NATI) to improve the collection of tribal crime and justice data used to determine tribal eligibility for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance (JAG) program.

The grant will address gaps in Indian Country crime statistics and current reporting methods, the reasons why many tribes are currently ineligible to receive JAG grants.  In addition to addressing tribal eligibility, Westat and NATI will collect information on American Indians in the criminal justice system and crimes committed on Indian Country reservations, in tribal communities and on trust land. 

“These funds will have a long-term positive impact in Indian Country by increasing tribes’ eligibility to receive vital JAG funding,” Attorney General Holder said.  “This project will also help the Department better understand and assist tribes with their criminal justice challenges.”

Funding for the grant is part of the Recovery Act Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program managed by the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).   The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) will be the program manager of the grant and the project.  The project will involve the BJS, BJA, the Office of Tribal Justice, the FBI, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, and certain state and tribal governments.

The statutory procedure for allocating JAG grants is based on a formula of population and violent crime statistics, in combination with a minimum allocation to ensure that each state and territory receives an appropriate share of funding.  Sixty percent of the allocation is awarded directly to a state and 40 percent is set aside for units of local government.  States are required to sub-grant a portion of the funds to local units of government, such as a city, county, township or town.  Tribal governments are eligible to receive pass-through funding from the state.

The JAG program, which is managed by BJA, is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.  JAG funds support all components of the criminal justice system, from multi-jurisdictional drug and gang task forces to crime prevention and domestic violence programs, courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives. Projects may address crime through the provision of services directly to individuals and/or communities and by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of criminal justice systems, processes, and procedures.  For more details on the JAG Program or to track the use of Recovery Act funds, visit www.ojp.gov/recovery

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