- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 15, 2001

The Justice Department has awarded more than $5 billion over the past year to the states, the District of Columbia and the five territories to fight crime, promote public safety, prevent juvenile delinquency, equip and train emergency responders and assist crime victims.

The department's first annual funding report, released yesterday, said the money went to each of the recipients through the Office of Justice Programs and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

"The Justice Department is an active partner with state and local governments and nonprofit agencies in making communities safe places to live and work," Attorney General John Ashcroft said. "This $5 billion demonstrates our solid commitment to these significant state and local efforts."

Virginia received $152 million; Maryland got $122 million; and the District of Columbia received $87 million.

Justice Department officials said more than $3.9 billion of the total went to law enforcement, by far the largest funding category, with another $625 million to juvenile justice programs, $464 million to victims' programs, $98 million to substance-abuse programs and nearly $59 million to community-based initiatives.

The funding report includes both large grants awarded by formula to the states and discretionary grants that are most often awarded on a competitive basis to nonprofit or community agencies. Because many of the formula programs use population as a determining factor, heavily populated states such as California, which received more than $900 million last year received more funding than less populated states, such as Wyoming, which received just over $14 million.

Department officials said the law-enforcement category includes funding for a range of needs, from hiring police officers to training emergency first responders to purchasing equipment. Juvenile justice funds include money for improving states' juvenile justice systems, promoting delinquency prevention through programs such as mentoring and funding in areas as diverse as preventing child abuse and reducing gang violence.

They said the majority of funding for victims' programs goes directly to the states to provide compensation and assistance for crime victims or to combat domestic violence. Substance-abuse funds are used for prevention and drug-treatment programs, including drug courts, while a large portion of community-based funding is provided through the neighborhood-focused Weed and Seed initiative.

"This report is a useful tool that allows state and local policy makers to see what federal resources are available within their states to promote public safety," Mr. Ashcroft said. "They can then determine additional needs or tap into existing programs."

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