US Attorneys > USAM > Title 1 > Organization and Functions Manual > 13.
prev | next

13.

Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

Each OJP Bureau is headed by a presidentially appointed Director or Administrator. The Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is responsible for administering DOJ's primary criminal justice grant agency. BJA provides funding, training, and technical assistance to state and local governments to combat violent and drug-related crime and help improve the criminal justice system. It also administers the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program (42 U.S.C. 3750).

Under the Byrne Discretionary Grant Program, BJA provides federal financial assistance to support state and local criminal justice agencies through training, technical assistance, national or multijurisdictional projects, and demonstration programs that, in view of previous research or experience, are likely to be a success in more than one jurisdiction. For example, BJA funds the National Citizens' Crime Prevention Campaign, which develops crime and drug abuse prevention programs and advertising featuring "McGruff, the Crime Dog," who asks citizens to help "Take A Bite Out of Crime." The Campaign also operates a toll-free telephone number--1/800-WE-PREVENT--through which the public can obtain free crime prevention materials.

Under the Byrne Formula Grant Program, BJA makes grants to 56 states and territories, for use by state and local units of government, to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system, with emphasis on violent crime and serious offenders, and to enforce state and local drug laws. Formula grants may be used for personnel, equipment, training, technical assistance, and information systems for more widespread apprehension, prosecution, adjudication, detention, and rehabilitation of persons who violate such laws and to assist crime victims. Of the total appropriated each year for Byrne formula grants, each state receives a base amount of 0.25 percent, with the remaining funds allocated on the basis of each state's relative share of the total United States population. Each state is required to develop a statewide strategy to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system that focuses on drug trafficking, violent crime, and serious offenders. The strategy is prepared after consultation with state and local criminal justice officials. At least 25 percent of the cost of a formula grant program or project must be paid with non-federal funds. Local governments must receive a share of the state's formula grant funds equal to the ratio of local criminal justice expenditures to total criminal justice expenditures for the state.

BJA also administers the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants Program created by the Omnibus Fiscal Year 1996 Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 104-134). This program provides block grants to local governments to reduce crime and enhance public safety. Funds may be used to hire and train additional law enforcement officers and support personnel; pay overtime to law enforcement personnel; procure equipment, technology, or other law enforcement materials; enhance school security; establish or support drug courts; prosecute violent offenders, including juveniles; establish multijurisdictional task forces; and support crime prevention programs.

In addition, BJA administers the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which reimburses states for the costs of incarcerating almost 38,000 illegal aliens convicted of state felony offenses; the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program, 42 U.S.C. 3796), which awards a cash benefit to eligible survivors of public safety officers killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty; and the Regional Information Sharing System (RISS) Program which provides intelligence, training, and other services to law enforcement agencies investigating organized crime, gangs, and major drug trafficking networks.

[cited in USAM 1-2.305]