Northam announces $8.79M for community-based justice programs
Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday the award of $8.79 million in grants to support local enforcement agencies and community-based criminal justice programs.
The grants were approved by the Criminal Justice Services Board, the policy board for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), at its Oct. 10 meeting in Richmond.
Included in these awards is $3,769,370 in federal funding from the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program. Byrne JAG funds were awarded for a range of equipment needs and program support, including community-based gun violence prevention programs, trauma-informed care for local pretrial and probation officers and law enforcement officers, automated notification systems for court appearances, community policing, gang- and drug-related crime reduction, and youth engagement initiatives.
“Protecting communities across the Commonwealth and ensuring the safety of all Virginians requires a diverse group of partners, innovative and evidence-based strategies, and smart investments in a wide range of programs,” said Northam. “These grants will provide critical resources to agencies, organizations, and law enforcement initiatives, and strengthen our ongoing efforts to prevent violent crime and address the challenges facing our criminal justice system.”
Two community-based gun violence prevention initiatives were also awarded funding. The Roanoke Police Department received $75,543 to hire a Rapid Engagement of Support in the Event of Trauma (RESET) Coordinator for a city-wide initiative to inform residents about assistance, services, and resources available to community members following a homicide or other traumatic community event. The Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney, partnering with the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, was awarded $142,300 to implement The Violent Crime Review (VCR), which collects, analyzes, and interprets data on violent crime to identify patterns and root cause in order to develop recommendations to reduce violent crime in Hampton.
“Our ability to address and curb violent crime in our communities requires a collaborative approach between public safety, community-based organizations, and community members,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “This grant funding is key to supporting these critical partnerships and part of Governor Northam’s holistic approach to addressing the day-to-day gun violence in our most vulnerable communities.”
Additionally, four organizations received a total of $719,230 in Comprehensive Opioid and Addiction Program (COAP) grant funds as part of an ongoing effort to combat the opioid epidemic in Virginia. The purpose of the COAP funding is to improve cross-system collaboration between criminal justice and behavioral health stakeholders, as well as to assist localities with developing and enhancing existing evidence-based programs to improve outcomes for individuals with opioid use disorders who are involved with the criminal justice system.
“DCJS will continue to be a staunch supporter of and partner to the agencies and organizations that strive to establish a safer environment for our children and for our communities,” said DCJS Director Shannon Dion. “I only wish we could fund all the applications we received for these much needed federal funds.”
The remaining grant awards consisted of $446,931 for the Sexual Assault Services Program, $547,992 in Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Title II Formula grants, and $3,301,752 for the second year of STOP Violence Against Women grants.
More information about the grants approved by the Board on October 10 is available here.