Saturday, February 14, 2009

What law enforcement money was included in final stimulus plan?

Well, despite my most sincere urgings, Congress included a boost to the federal Byrne grant program in its just passed stimulus package. A friend from the prosecutors' camp forwarded the list which included a surprising twist - adding "national, regional, and local non-profit organizations" to the list of eligible grantees for $225 million in competitive grants:

Below (and attached) are the summary of the final compromise bill released last night:

o $2 billion for the Byrne JAG formula grant program;

o $225 million for Byrne competitive grants (see purposes below);

o $225 million for Violence Against Women programs, of which $175 million is for the STOP grants and $50 million is for the transitional housing assistance grants program;

o $1 billion for the COPS Office for the hiring and rehiring of additional career law enforcement officers and civilian public safety personnel. The bill waives the 25% local match and the $75,000 per officer cap;

o $40 million for competitive grants to provide assistance and equipment to local law enforcement along the Southern border and in High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas to combat criminal narcotics activity stemming from the Southern border, of which $10 million shall be for ATF’s Project Gunrunner;

o $225 million for Indian Country grants (see text below);

o $100 million to be distributed by the Office for Victims of Crime (see text below);

o $125 million for assistance to law enforcement in rural areas (see text below); and

o $50 million for Internet Crimes Against Children initiatives.

Other provisions:

o $2 million for DOJ’s Inspector General’s office (to track the use of the dollars);

o $10 million for management and administration and oversight of programs within the Office on Violence Against Women, the Office of Justice Programs, and the COPS office. No administrative overhead costs shall be deducted by DOJ from these programs;

o DOJ will be required to submit a spend plan to the Hill within 60 days of enactment;

o The conference report text on the Byrne Competitive Grants is as follows: “for competitive, peer-reviewed grants to units of State, local, and tribal government, and to national, regional, and local non-profit organizations to prevent crime, improve the administration of justice, provide services to victims of crime, support critical nurturing and mentoring of at-risk children and youth, and for other similar activities;”

o The report text on the rural law enforcement section reads as follows: “to combat the persistent problems of drug-related crime in rural America. Funds will be available on a competitive basis for drug enforcement and other law enforcement activities in rural states and rural areas, including for the hiring of police officers and for community drug prevention and treatment programs;”

o The report text on the victims’ compensation section reads as follows: “to support State compensation and assistance programs for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, homicide, and other Federal and state crimes;” and,

o The report text on the tribal assistance reads as follows: “to assist American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, to be distributed under the guidelines set forth by the Correctional Facilities on Tribal Lands program. The Department is directed to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and to consider the following in the grant approval process: (1) the detention bed space needs of an applicant tribe; and (2) the violent crime statistics of the tribe.”

The bill and report text (explanatory statement) are up on the House Rules website:

All of these funds are to be available until September 30, 2010. What, exactly, that means and how, exactly, that provision will be interpreted by the Hill and DOJ will become clearer in the next days and weeks.

So, sometime this year, Governor Perry will get a larger pot of Byrne grant money than in years past and he'll need to dispense it in a relatively short period of time. Even though the section on rural law enforcement specifically authorizes regional drug task forces, I hope Gov. Perry instead spends the money on new drug treatment and prevention programs simultaneously made eligible under the bill, which are needed in rural areas a lot more than some bastard reincarnation of the old, Tulia-style drug task forces.


Anonymous said...

"Well, despite my most sincere urgings..."

That's the best news today, Scottie. That our government does not listen to, or hopefully read you, at all.

There is hope for democracy yet.

Anonymous said...

The Stimulus plan stinks.BO stands for Bad Oder.So if you go to work everyday you well see approx.$13.00 more on the old pay check.I guess you can call that change.

Dan T.

Beer Of The Day said...

Dan, maybe that extra $13.00 can buy you some spelling lessons.

I always love it when the people who would benefit the most from something (in this case an illiterate hack) complains the most about it.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:31 - if this blog is so pointless, why are you here?

I don't mind a lot that's in the stimulus plan, but they cut much of the actually "stimulative" part and larded it up with stuff like this list that don't actually boost the economy.

BoD, this blog has enough difficulty with flame wars on the juvenile justice strings. Please don't contribute to it.

Anonymous said...

Beer of the day,

like an extra $13 a week is going to benefit anyone. get real buddy. yeah! $13/week. we can all finally pay off all our debts with that kind of money. idiot.

Anonymous said...

Wish Whitmire would run for Governor

Anonymous said...

Scott - right own with your question about why some of these folks come to this site if they hate the info and views. Keep on keeping on....can't tell you the number of folks who have commented on this being the MAIN site to come to for good coverage, comments, and blog for info on our justice (sometimes I wonder about that) system. Some of these folks must feel pretty threatened by the coverage to react like they do.