Q. What types of entities are recipients of Department of Justice federal financial assistance and subject to the nondiscrimination provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
A. The Department of Justice (DOJ) provides federal financial assistance to a wide variety of state and local agencies and organizations, including law enforcement agencies, departments of corrections, jails, district attorneys’ offices, juvenile justice agencies, courts, shelters, and other programs and activities serving victims of domestic violence, and a variety of other justice-oriented programs and activities.
Recipients of DOJ financial assistance are covered by the nondiscrimination provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance. Recipients of assistance from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and, in some cases, from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) are additionally covered by the nondiscrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (“Safe Streets Act”), as amended, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion by recipients of DOJ assistance. Subrecipients are also covered, when federal funds are passed from one recipient to a subrecipient.
Title VI covers a recipient's entire program or activity. This means all parts of a recipient's operations are covered. This is true even if only one part of the recipient receives the federal assistance. Example: DOJ provides assistance to a state department of corrections to improve a particular prison facility. All of the operations of the entire state department of corrections--not just the particular prison--are covered.
The vast majority of DOJ financial assistance is distributed through OJP, OVW, and the COPS office. Shared assets from the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section also constitute federal financial assistance from DOJ. Other components also may provide federal assistance. Such assistance can come in the form of grants, certain loans, the grant or donation of federal property, the detail of federal personnel, or other arrangements that have a purpose of providing assistance.
Sources and Resources: Title VI and implementing regulations, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, et seq., 28 CFR 42.101, et seq., including Appendix A to Subpart C, Safe Streets Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3789d(c). A list of the types of recipients and the agencies funding them can be found at www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/federalfundingsources.htm. More information on Title VI, generally, can be found at www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor.
under Title VI and the Safe Streets Act
Q. Under what authority does the Coordination and Review Section (COR) conduct investigations?
A. COR is responsible, through Memoranda of Understanding with funding components of the Department of Justice (DOJ), for investigating complaints against recipients of federal financial assistance from DOJ under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VI”) and the nondiscrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (“Safe Streets Act”). Together, these statutes prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion by recipients of DOJ assistance, including grants provided through DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Shared assets from the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section also constitute federal financial assistance from DOJ.
Because the majority of the Department’s recipients include police and sheriffs’ departments, state departments of corrections, and courts, the majority of COR’s investigations occur as a result of complaints against those entities. COR has authority to pursue complaints filed by alleged victims of discrimination, their representatives, or third parties. When COR initiates an investigation of a discrimination complaint that has been filed against a recipient of DOJ funds, the decision to investigate does not reflect any determination as to the merits of the allegations. Under certain circumstances, COR also pursues compliance reviews of recipients even if no complaint has been filed. Although the impetus for an investigation and a compliance review is different, the actual investigation process is similar and may involve data requests, onsite reviews, interviews, and/or background research as appropriate.
There are some areas in which a complaint may fall within COR’s jurisdiction and that of other sections within the Civil Rights Division. In these cases, the Division will determine which, if any, of the sections will pursue the matter. For instance, the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section is responsible for enforcement of federal law that authorizes the Department to file suit, without undertaking or completing an administrative review, to remedy a pattern or practice of law enforcement misconduct that violates the Constitution or federal law, 42 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 14141, 3789d(c)(3). The Special Litigation Section also has authority to investigate complaints and bring suit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Â§ 2000cc-1(a). RLUIPA prohibits correctional facilities that receive federal financial assistance (and other correctional facilities in certain circumstances) from imposing substantial burdens on inmates’ religious exercise, including those burdens that result from rules of general applicability, unless the correctional facility demonstrates that the imposition of the burden is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest. .
Complaint form, http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/complaint.htm Investigations Procedures Manual, http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/coord/invmanual.htm