Executive Order 13279, Executive Order 13549, and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) regulation on Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations, 28 C.F.R. pt. 38, prohibit recipients from using DOJ financial assistance on inherently (or explicitly) religious activities and from discriminating in the delivery of services based on religion, a religious belief, a refusal to hold a religious belief, or a refusal to attend or participate in a religious practice. The Office for Civil Rights has developed a Frequently Asked Questions document addressing the application of these laws to twelve-step recovery programs. Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Twelve-Step Recovery Programs for Recipients of Justice Department Financial Assistance (ojp.gov)
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an updated enforcement guidance on April 25, 2012, cautioning employers that the use of arrest or conviction information in making employment decisions may, in certain circumstances, violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) of 1964, as amended, which prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, national origin, and other protected classes. Consistent with the EEOC Enforcement Guidance and the Attorney General’s commitment to remove barriers to prisoner reentry, grant-making offices of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) issued an Advisory to remind recipients of financial assistance from the Department of their obligation not to engage in discriminatory employment practices related to the improper use of arrest and conviction records. Learn more here: Advisory for Recipients of Financial Assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice (ojp.gov)
Civil rights compliance reviews conducted by OCR are a way of ensuring that recipients of federal financial assistance from the Department of Justice are adhering to the various nondiscrimination provisions enforced by OCR. These reviews take a collaborative approach that includes technical assistance, promotion of best practices and enforcement of federal civil rights law. More information on OCR enforcement activities can be found at:
A faith-based or religious organization that participates in DOJ-funded programs or services will retain its independence from government, and may continue to carry out its mission, including the practice and expression of its religious beliefs, as long as it does not use direct financial assistance from DOJ to support any explicitly religious activities, including activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization. Further guidance for regarding federal financial assistance for Faith-based organizations can be found at: Civil Rights | Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations | Office of Justice Programs (ojp.gov) and Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations in DOJ-Supported Social Service Programs
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is committed to working with state and local courts and juvenile justice agencies to ensure that their assessment of fines and fees is constitutional and nondiscriminatory. To advance that goal, DOJ revised and updated a letter it previously issued in 2016 that focused on the assessment of fines and fees against adults, as well as a 2017 advisory addressing the assessment of fines and fees against juveniles. A Dear Colleague letter, issued April 20, 2023, by the Civil Rights Division, Office of Justice Programs, and Office for Access to Justice, addresses in detail the assessment of fines and fees against both adults and juveniles. www.justice.gov/d9/press-releases/attachments/2023/04/20/doj_fines_and_fees_dear_colleague_
All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. To learn more about federal protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex traits here: Civil Rights | LGBTQ+ | Office of Justice Programs (ojp.gov)
Title VI's prohibition of discrimination based on national origin includes discrimination based on English proficiency. Under Title VI (and the Safe Streets Act), recipients are required to provide individuals limited English proficiency meaningful access to their programs and services. Providing "meaningful access" will generally involve some combination of services for oral interpretation and written translation of vital documents. Learn more at: Civil Rights | Limited English Proficient (LEP) | Office of Justice Programs (ojp.gov) or www.LEP.gov.
Under Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), the duty of the Review Panel on Prison Rape (Panel) is to hold public hearings concerning the operations of the three prisons with the highest incidence of sexual victimization and the two prisons with the lowest incidence of sexual victimization in each category of facilities identified in data gathered by Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is tasked with convening Panel hearings. The purpose of the hearings is to aid BJS in identifying the common characteristics of institutions with the highest and lowest prevalence of sexual victimization as well as in identifying the common characteristics of victims and perpetrators. In 2010, the Attorney General, through BJS, designated juvenile justice facilities as one of the prison categories under PREA that merited a survey on the incidence of sexual victimization.
Based on its most recent survey of youth in the custody of juvenile justice facilities, BJS published, Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth in Juvenile Facilities, 2018 (December 11, 2019) which is available at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/svryjf18.pdf .
Additional information and reports related to PREA can be found at: Sexual Victimization in Correctional Facilities (PREA) | Bureau of Justice Statistics (ojp.gov) and Review Panel | Review Panel on Prison Rape | Office of Justice Programs (ojp.gov)
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VJ'') prohibits recipients of federal financial assistance from discriminating against any person on the basis of race, color, or national origin in the provision of services. 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. The nondiscrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act ("Safe Streets Act") are modeled on Title VI and prohibit discrimination in service provision and employment, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex, in connection with any program or activity funded with specific criminal justice-related funds. 34 U.S.C. § 10228(c)(l). Together, these statutes are critical tools in achieving the government's obligation to ensure that public funds are not being used to finance illegal discrimination.
On September 15, 2021, the Associate Attorney General directed the Civil Rights Division, working in partnership with the Office of Justice Programs, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and the Office on Violence Against Women, to review the implementation and administrative enforcement of Title VI and the nondiscrimination provisions of the Safe Streets Act in connection with federal financial assistance provided by the Department of Justice. Read more here: