Office of Justice Programs: Helping Law Enforcement Combat Crime

By Gurule, Jimmy | The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, February 1993 | Go to article overview

Office of Justice Programs: Helping Law Enforcement Combat Crime


Gurule, Jimmy, The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) plays a key role in helping law enforcement to combat crime and to improve the criminal justice system. Its primary responsibilities include developing and supporting innovative national, State, and local programs to control drug-related crime and violence, improving the operation of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, and providing assistance to crime victims. OJP also plays an important role within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Government in implementing the goals and objectives of the President's national drug control strategy.

To accomplish its mission, OJP forms partnerships with Federal, State, and local law enforcement and government officials, community organizations, researchers, and others to identify emerging criminal justice issues. Personnel from these groups then develop and test ways to address these issues, evaluate the programs, and disseminate the findings.

Programs established by the Anti-drug Abuse Act of 1988, the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 allow the OJP to coordinate its resources and to develop a comprehensive plan to maximize its effectiveness with the limited resources available. The Assistant Attorney General (AAG) of the OJP establishes and guides OJP policy and priorities, ensuring that they remain consistent with the priorities established by the President and the Attorney General.

To fulfill this responsibility, the AAG promotes and facilitates coordination among the five major bureaus within the OJP. These bureaus include:

* The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), which provides funding and technical assistance to State and local governments that wish to develop innovative approaches to law enforcement in the areas of violent crime, gang activities, drug control, and drug law enforcement

* The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which collects, analyzes, and disseminates statistics and other data regarding crime, crime victims, drug use, and other criminal justice issues

* The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which sponsors research and develops and evaluates new approaches to fight drugs and drug-related crime, as well as to improve the operation and effectiveness of the criminal justice system

* The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), which develops innovative programs, sponsors research, and assists State and local jurisdictions in preventing and controlling juvenile drug use and crime

* The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), which provides funding to States to support victim compensation and assistance programs and works to improve our Nation's response to victims of crime and their families.

With its multimillion-dollar budget, OJP awards funds to State agencies which, in turn, subgrant the funds for State and local drug control efforts, juvenile justice, and victim assistance and compensation programs. OJP also provides funds directly to law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies and organizations to demonstrate new and innovative programs that appeal to jurisdictions around the country.

Each year, OJP establishes priorities for awarding these "discretionary" grant funds and publishes these priorities in the Federal Register and the OJP Fiscal Year Program Plan. Priorities for the fiscal year (FY) 1992 budget included gangs and violent offenders; victims; community policing and police effectiveness; intermediate sanctions and user accountability; drug prevention; drug testing; intensive prosecution and adjudication; evaluation; money laundering and financial investigations; and information systems, statistics, and technology.

Another primary focus of the OJP is Operation Weed and Seed. This article discusses this program, as well as other OJP programs.

Operation Weed and Seed

OJP maintains a leadership role in implementing DOJ's comprehensive new initiative called peration Weed and Seed. …

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