The Hill: Bipartisan group of senators press for funding for crime prevention grants program

A bipartisan group of 39 senators are asking appropriators to retain funding for a program that provides grants to communities for crime prevention.

Led by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the lawmakers on Wednesday requested “robust” funding for fiscal 2012 for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program that helps states and communities across the country reduce crime, prevent juvenile delinquency and reduce recidivism.

“Guided by statewide strategic planning, Byrne JAG funds are able to test and measure innovative methods for reducing crime, preventing juvenile delinquency, and reducing recidivism, while at the same time saving taxpayer dollars,” the senators wrote to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.

“As you move forward in deliberations over this funding, we ask that you continue Congress’ commitment to supporting local efforts to address crime and prevention.”

Sixty percent of Byrne JAG funds are allocated to states for programs in local communities while the remaining 40 percent is provided directly to communities via a state-wide competitive grant process.

In 2010, more than 1,500 local jurisdictions across the country were awarded direct grants, and many more were awarded funds passed through by the state criminal justice planning agencies.

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