A group of 48 legislators forwarded correspondence last week calling for full Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program funding.
The letter was sent to U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), respective chair and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Senate Committee on Appropriations.
The legislators said the program serves as the leading source of criminal justice funding for state, local and tribal governments while supporting a range of programs related to crime prevention, law enforcement, prosecution, corrections, and mental and behavioral health.
“One of the highest responsibilities of government is to protect its citizens and ensure public safety,” the lawmakers wrote. “As such, Byrne JAG’s strength in flexibility is paramount to fighting crime. States and local communities use Byrne JAG funds to focus on the most pressing issues facing them. Byrne JAG-funded programs facilitate cross-governmental intelligence and information sharing on terror and criminal threats, drug and human trafficking organizations, and sexual predators.”
The legislators maintain collaboration is key to addressing criminal networks crossing city, state, and international boundaries.
“Crime control and prevention can be truly successful only when the criminal justice system is in balance, with all of the parts functioning effectively,” the lawmakers concluded. “Byrne JAG’s flexibility allows state and local governments to target their most pressing needs in law enforcement, prevention, pretrial services and treatment, courts, corrections, crime victims’ services, prosecution and defense, and post-incarceration reentry services.”