WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs announced that it has awarded more than $83 million to five states and the District of Columbia to address the public safety challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Awards are being made to: the California Board of State and Community Corrections, $58,518,568; the District of Columbia Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, $5,999,524; the Maine Department of Public Safety, $3,266,879; the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, $5,531,638; the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, $6,811,383; and the Rhode Island Department of Public Safety, $3,226,449.
The states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Virginia Islands received awards previously. Since the program was launched in early April, OJP has already awarded almost $585 million to state, local and tribal agencies and organizations, more than two-thirds of the $850 million available.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 and the public health emergency it created are sobering reminders that even the most routine duties performed by our nation’s public safety officials carry potentially grave risks,” said Katharine T. Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. “These funds will provide hard-hit communities with critical resources to help mitigate the impact of this crisis and give added protection to the brave professionals charged with keeping citizens safe.”
The grants are among the most recent to be awarded under the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act signed into law by President Trump in March. This program allows eligible state, local and tribal governments to apply immediately for these critical funds. OJP is moving quickly, aiming to have funds available for drawdown as soon as possible after receiving an application. In addition to statewide awards, many local jurisdictions within these states are eligible for direct awards. A list of all awards can be found at https://ojp-open.data.socrata.com/stories/s/jitc-swxt
The CARES Act gives jurisdictions considerable latitude in the use of funds for dealing with COVID-19. Potential uses include hiring personnel, paying overtime, purchasing protective equipment and distributing resources to hard-hit areas. Funds may also be used to help correctional facilities cover costs related to COVID-19, including, but not limited to, sanitation, contagion prevention and measures designed to address the related medical needs of inmates, detainees and correctional personnel.
The solicitation, posted by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, will remain open until May 29. As a top priority, OJP will fund successful applicants on a rolling basis as it receives applications. Grantees may apply the funds retroactively to January 20, 2020, subject to federal rules.
Agencies that were eligible for the fiscal year 2019 State and Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program are candidates for the emergency funding. A complete list of eligible jurisdictions and their allocations is available at https://bja.ojp.gov/program/fy20-cesf-allocations
For more information, please visit https://bja.ojp.gov/funding/opportunities/bja-2020-18553
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