(The Center Square) – The U.S. Justice Department awarded Oregon-based organizations with 58 grants worth $55.6 million to promote public safety, it announced in a press release this week.
The Office of Justice Programs provided these grants to help “build community capacity to curb violence, serve victims and youth, and achieve fair outcomes through evidence-based criminal and juvenile justice strategies,” according to the release.
The Justice Department disbursed about $4.4 billion to 3,700 organizations nationwide under this program.
The Oregon Department of Justice received the largest grant. It got a $17.15 million grant for its Victims of Crime Act assistance fund.
“This applicant will provide funds from the Crime Victims Fund to enhance crime victim services in the State,” the Justice Department explained in its grant database. “Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) assistance funds are typically competitively awarded by the State to local community-based organizations that provide direct services to crime victims.”
Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of State Police will receive the second-largest grant. It will receive $3.13 million for the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program.
“The Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (Byrne SCIP) provides formula funds to implement state crisis intervention court proceedings and related programs or initiatives, including, but not limited to, extreme risk protection order programs that work to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others, mental health courts, drug courts, and veterans treatment courts,” a description of the program from the Bureau of Justice Assistance said.
Similarly, the State Police Department will also get $2.43 million for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
“The JAG Program provides states, tribes, and local governments with critical funding necessary to support a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution, indigent defense, courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, planning, evaluation, technology improvement, crime victim and witness initiatives, mental health programs and related law enforcement and corrections programs, including behavioral programs and crisis intervention teams, and implementation of state crisis intervention court proceedings and related programs or initiatives including, but not limited to, mental health courts, drug courts, veterans courts, and extreme risk protection order programs,” a description of the program from the Bureau of Justice Assistance said.
Meanwhile, Portland is receiving $2.5 million through the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.
Here is how municipalities use this funding, according to the Bureau of Justice Assistance:
Support multidisciplinary community response teams to inventory, track, and expeditiously test previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs).Collect and test lawfully owed DNA from offenders/arrestees.Produce necessary protocols and policies to improve collaboration and promote sustainable reform among laboratories, police, prosecutors, and victim service providers.Provide resources to address the cold case sexual assault investigations and prosecutions that result from evidence and Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) hits produced by tested SAKs.Optimize victim notification protocols and services.
Plus, the Friends of the Children’s Adolescent Education Support Strategies and Caregiver Partnership is getting $2 million to provide 144 hours of mentoring to at-risk youth annually. The program hopes to prevent delinquency, violence, substance abuse, school failure, and teen pregnancies.
“Everyone in this country deserves to be safe in their communities,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in the release announcing the grants. “That is why, in addition to continuing our efforts to identify and prosecute the most violent criminals, the Justice Department is putting every available resource to work to support the efforts of our law enforcement and community partners nationwide. This significant investment will go directly to state and local programs that support the victims of crime, support officer safety, and wellness, build the public trust in law enforcement essential to public safety, and help make all of our communities safer.”