U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.


Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides leadership and assistance to local criminal justice programs that improve and reinforce the nation’s criminal justice system. BJA’s goals are to reduce and prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse and to improve the way in which the criminal justice system functions. In order to achieve such goals, BJA programs illustrate the coordination and cooperation of local, state, and federal governments. BJA works closely with programs that bolster law enforcement operations, expand drug courts, and provide benefits to safety officers.

Visit the BJA website to learn more about BJA.

BJA Key Areas

BJA consists of four key areas: Policy, Programs, Operations, and the National Officer Safety and Wellness Office.

  • The Policy Office acts as a national leader for criminal justice policy, training, and technical assistance to advance the direction of justice. It also acts as a connecting point with national organizations to set policy and help broadcast information on the best practices.
  • The Programs Office organizes and manages all state and local grant programs. It functions as a direct line of communication to states, territories, and tribal governments because the office is responsible for providing assistance and coordinating resources.
  • The Operations Office coordinates the planning, communications, and budget functions; provides overall BJA-wide coordination; and supports streamlining efforts.

BJA Leadership

Kristen Mahoney
Acting Director; Deputy Director for Programs

About Kristen

Kristen Mahoney photo

Ms. Kristen Mahoney serves as the Acting Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance within the Office of Justice Programs.  She has comprehensive and practical experience creating criminal justice policies, programming and technical assistance that aid state, local, and tribal communities.  In 2016, Ms. Mahoney was recognized for her work developing the Violence Reduction Network (now the National Public Safety Partnership) and was awarded the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive by President Barack Obama.

From 2006 to 2012, Ms. Mahoney served the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention for the State of Maryland.  She came to state government after serving as the Chief of Technical Services for the Baltimore Police Department and the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice for the City of Baltimore.  Ms. Mahoney received her B.A. from Sweet Briar College and her J.D. from the University of Baltimore.

Contact BJA

Contact BJA
Phone: 202-616-6500

Date Created: January 7, 2020