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Monday, January 14, 2013

Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program

Nathan James
Analyst in Crime Policy

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program was created by the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-162), which collapsed both the Edward Byrne Memorial Formula (Byrne Formula) Grant and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG) into a single program. This report provides a brief overview of JAG and its funding.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance reports that JAG “is the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.” According to the National Criminal Justice Association, “[the] breadth and flexibility [of the JAG program] means states and local communities can use [JAG funds] to balance resources and address problems across the entire criminal justice system and to react quickly to urgent challenges and changing circumstances.”

JAG funds are awarded to state and local governments based on a statutorily defined formula. Each state’s allocation is based on its proportion of the country’s population and the state’s proportion of the average total number of reported violent crimes (homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) for the last three years. After a state’s allocation is calculated, 60% goes directly to the state government and the remaining 40% is awarded directly to units of local government in the state. State and local governments can use their JAG funding for programs or projects in one of seven purpose areas: (1) law enforcement programs; (2) prosecution and court programs; (3) prevention and education programs; (4) corrections and community corrections programs; (5) drug treatment programs; (6) planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs; and (7) crime victim and witness programs (other than compensation).

Funding for JAG has averaged $461 million per fiscal year since Congress started appropriating funding for the program in FY2005. However, funding for the program fluctuated over that time period. The appropriations data also show that since FY1998 there has been a general downward trend in providing assistance to state and local law enforcement through the LLEBG, Byrne Formula, and JAG grant programs.

Date of Report: January 3, 2013
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: RS22416
Price: $29.95

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