U.S. flag

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

PRESS RELEASE

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Department of Justice Awards More Than $38 Million to Promote Reforms in the Justice System

      WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs today announced awards totaling over $38 million to advance reforms in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Funding will support evidence-based approaches designed to reduce crime and incarceration and ensure the fairness of justice system operations, as well as research to broaden the base of knowledge about effective pretrial strategies and practices for reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system.

      “Although the number of people held in our nation’s prisons and jails has declined in recent years, America’s incarceration rate remains far too high and continues to exact a heavy toll on our communities, especially communities of color,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon. “If America is to continue to represent the ideals of liberty and justice on which it was founded, we must reimagine our approach to crime and justice, advancing public safety while promoting the dignity, humanity and equality of all Americans.”

      In 2020, the number of people held in state and federal prisons fell by 15%, to just over 1.2 million, and the jail population decreased by 25% between mid-year 2019 and mid-year 2020. Yet the U.S. continues to imprison more people, and at higher rates, than any other country in the world, with people of color disproportionately subjected to correctional sanctions. It is estimated that one in three Black men are incarcerated in their lifetimes. Jails also contribute to racial and economic inequities. About 65% of people being held in jails across the country have not been convicted of a crime but are detained in pretrial status, many because they are unable to post bail or afford to pay other fees imposed by the system.

      The grants announced today will support several programs aimed at improving public safety while reducing incarceration and addressing long-standing racial disparities. Among other programs, funding will support the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, an effort led by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and introduced in two-dozen states that has helped to lower prison populations while maintaining public safety. A Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative administered by OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will develop and test research-based responses to public safety challenges intended to improve outcomes for youth.

      Awards from OJP’s National Institute of Justice will also support research on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system and evaluations of pretrial strategies and their impact on the administration of justice. In addition, funds will help provide quality legal representation for defendants with post-conviction claims of innocence and will support training and technical assistance to help state corrections agencies reduce their use of restrictive housing. And a BJA Visiting Fellows Program will bring in outside experts for the purpose of providing support and guidance on program and policy development on criminal justice priorities.

      Here is a list of funded grants:

      In addition to these awards, OJP is funding treatment and reentry programs, among other innovative justice system approaches. Those awards are being announced separately. Information about all of these awards is available at the OJP Grant Awards Page.

      The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.

###

OFFICE:  bja.ojp.gov and bjs.ojp.gov
CONTACT:  Tannyr Watkins at 202-532-3923 or [email protected]

OFFICE:  nij.ojp.gov
CONTACT:  Sheila Jerusalem at 202-598-0793 or [email protected]

Date Created: December 22, 2021