The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program



Updated February 5, 2021
The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG)
Program

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant
expenditures collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics; it
(JAG) program is a Department of Justice (DOJ) formula
is the ratio, for the most recent fiscal year, of the total
grant program. The JAG program allocates funds to the 50
amount of state expenditures on criminal justice to the total
states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the
amount of expenditures on criminal justice by both the state
Virgin Islands, America Samoa, and the Northern Mariana
and all units of local government.
Islands (collectively referred to as “states” hereinafter) for a
variety of state and local criminal justice initiatives. The
program is administered by the Bureau of Justice
Disparate Allocation
Assistance (BJA).
In some instances, a unit of local government or
multiple units of local government are required to
Calculating Allocations
col aborate on a single joint award with the county.
Under the JAG formula, each state’s allocation is based on
This happens when BJA certifies that there is a
its population and the number of reported violent crimes in
“disparate al ocation,” meaning that one city qualifies
the state. Specifically, half of a state’s allocation is based on
for an amount that is one-and-a-half times more than
the state’s respective share of the U.S. population, using the
the amount for the county with concurrent
most recent population figures published by the Census
jurisdiction, or when the total amount for which cities
Bureau. The other half is based on the state’s respective
in a single county qualify is four-times more than the
share of the average number of violent crimes reported to
amount for the county. The unit or units of local
the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the three most
government and county representatives must sign and
recent years for which data are available. Under current
submit a memorandum of understanding stating that
law, each state is guaranteed to receive no less than 0.25%
they al agree on how the joint award, which is the
of the amount appropriated for the JAG program in a given
sum of al of the individual awards, wil be al ocated
fiscal year (i.e., the minimum allocation). Therefore, after
and used.
each state’s initial allocation is calculated using the JAG
formula, states that would have received less than 0.25% of
Program Purpose Areas
the total amount appropriated for the JAG program are
Grant recipients can use their JAG funds for state and local
funded at the minimum allocation. If a state’s initial
initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel,
allocation is greater than the minimum amount, then the
equipment, supplies, contractual support, and criminal
state receives the minimum allocation plus a share of the
justice information systems for
remaining funds based on the state’s proportion of the
country’s population and the reported number of violent
 law enforcement;
crimes. Both population and violent crime data for the
 prosecution and courts;
states that received the minimum allocation as their award
are excluded when allocating the remaining funds for the
 prevention and education;
states that receive more than the minimum allocation.
 corrections and community corrections;
After each state’s allocation is determined, 40% of it is
 drug treatment;
directly awarded to units of local government in the state
(this does not occur in the District of Columbia or the
 planning, evaluation, and technology improvement;
territories). Awards to units of local government, which
 crime victim and witness assistance (other than
includes Indian tribes that have law enforcement
compensation); and
responsibilities, are based on the jurisdiction’s proportion of
the three-year average number of violent crimes committed
 mental health and related law enforcement and
in its respective state. Only units of local government that
corrections programs, including behavioral programs
would receive $10,000 or more are eligible for a direct
and crisis intervention teams.
allocation. The balance of funds not awarded directly to
JAG’s eight broad program purpose areas are intended to
units of local government is administered by the state and
give states and local units of government flexibility in
must be distributed to the state police department or to units
creating programs to address local needs.
of local government that were not eligible to receive a
direct award from BJA. Also, each state is required to “pass
Appropriations
through” to units of local government a certain percentage
There are two numbers to consider when evaluating
of the funds directly awarded to the state. The pass-through
changes in appropriations for the JAG program: the total (or
percentage is calculated using data on criminal justice
“top-line”) appropriation, and the amount available to be
https://crsreports.congress.gov

link to page 2 The Edw ard Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
allocated through the JAG program after set-asides.
Notes: Amounts shown in the table are in nominal, not inflation-
Traditionally, Congress has dedicated some of the annual
adjusted, dol ars. The FY2009 amounts include $2 bil ion in
JAG appropriation for other purposes, as specified in the
emergency funding that was appropriated for JAG pursuant to the
annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). The
(CJS) Appropriations Act. In many fiscal years, as a part of
FY2013 appropriation also includes the amount sequestered per the
its annual budget submission, the Administration has also
Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25).
requested that Congress set aside a portion of the annual
JAG funding for specific purposes.
In FY2005 and FY2006, Congress required 15% and 23%,
respectively, of the appropriation for JAG to be set aside for
Funding was first appropriated for the program in FY2005
other purposes. These set-asides are largely attributable to
(see Table 1). Top-line funding for JAG since its inception
the approximately $84 million that was dedicated to the
has averaged $445 million per fiscal year (not including $2
Boys and Girls Club of America, a carryover from one of
billion in funding appropriated pursuant to the American
JAG’s predecessor programs, the Local Law Enforcement
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-
Block Grant. After Congress declined to dedicate JAG
5)).
funding to the Boys and Girls Club in FY2007, set-asides
accounted for 1%-4% of JAG’s total appropriation through
Table 1. Appropriations for the JAG Program,
FY2011 (for FY2009, the proportion dedicated to set-asides
FY2005-FY2021
does not include ARRA funding). Since then, s et-asides
Appropriations in millions of dollars
have accounted for an increasing share of JAG’s funding. In
FY2012, FY2016, and FY2020 at least one-quarter of the
Appropriation
total JAG appropriation was dedicated for other purposes.
Fiscal
Top-Line
after
Percent
In each of those fiscal years, Congress directed $100
Year
Appropriation
Set-Asides
Set Aside
million in JAG funding toward reimbursing cities that
hosted presidential nominating conventions for security-
2005
$626
$529
15%
related costs they incurred.
2006
411
317
23%
Since FY2017, Congress and the President have started to
2007
520
500
4%
fund several DOJ grant programs (e.g., Project Safe
Neighborhoods, the John R. Justice program, programs
2008
170
166
2%
authorized under the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and the
Capital Litigation Improvement and Wrongful Conviction
2009
2,546
539
1%
Review program), which had traditionally received their
2010
519
511
2%
own line item appropriation in the annual CJS
appropriations act, through set-asides from JAG. Congress
2011
430
423
2%
might have started setting aside JAG funding for these
programs as a way to continue to fund them while
2012
470
352
25%
minimizing increases in appropriations for the State and
2013
365
345
5%
Local Law Enforcement Assistance (S&LLEA) account in
the CJS appropriations act. During this period, funding for
2014
376
345
8%
S&LLEA has increased somewhat as funding has been
provided for programs to address the opioid crisis, combat
2015
376
333
12%
human trafficking, improve the completeness of records in
the National Instant Criminal Background Check System,
2016
476
347
27%
and improve police-community relations.
2017
403
335
17%
Since FY2012, appropriations that are available to be
2018
416
340
18%
allocated through the JAG program after set-asides have
generally been around $340 million each fiscal year. This
2019
424
330
22%
indicates that even though more JAG funding has been set-
aside for other purposes, Congress has increased the top-
2020
547
349
36%
line appropriation to account for additional set-asides.
2021
484
360
26%
However, funding available to be allocated to state and
local governments since FY2012 was generally lower than
Source: Appropriations were taken from the conference report or
what it was for FY2005 to FY2011, and was lower than the
explanatory statement to accompany the annual Commerce, Justice,
$445 million average since the program’s inception in
Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act for each
FY2005.
fiscal year, with the exception of FY2013. The FY2013 appropriation
was provided by DOJ.
Nathan James, Analyst in Crime Policy
IF10691


https://crsreports.congress.gov

The Edw ard Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program


Disclaimer
This document was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan shared staff to
congressional committees and Members of Congress. It operates solely at the behest of and under the direction of Congress.
Information in a CRS Report should not be relied upon for purposes other than public understanding of information that has
been provided by CRS to Members of Congress in connection with CRS’s institutional role. CRS Reports, as a work of the
United States Government, are not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Any CRS Report may be
reproduced and distributed in its entirety without permission from CRS. However, as a CRS Report may include
copyrighted images or material from a third party, you may need to obtain the permissio n of the copyright holder if you
wish to copy or otherwise use copyrighted material.

https://crsreports.congress.gov | IF10691 · VERSION 7 · UPDATED