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Tag: grants

DOJ to Provide $21M to Combat Rising Rate of Hate Crimes

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department will award law enforcement agencies with more than $21 million to help investigate and prosecute hate crimes. 

The announcement last week came amid an alarming rise in reported hate crimes. 

“Hate crimes instill fear across entire communities. They have profoundly negative and unacceptable effects on our society,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement. “The department is committed to using all tools at our disposal to combat unlawful acts of hate. These awards will provide state, local and tribal agencies additional support and critical resources to address hate crimes and their far-reaching effects.”

Thursday’s announcement coincided with the 12th anniversary of the enactment of the Mathew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama. The act empowers the Justice Department to prosecute hate crimes, even if law enforcement can’t show that the vicim was engaged in a federally protected activity. 

“Acts of violence and destruction motivated by hate and bias cause lasting harm to victims, terrorize entire communities and divide our nation, leaving deep scars and stalling the march toward equal justice,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon of the Office of Justice Programs. “We must work together to bridge the gaps of empathy, root out intolerance in all its forms and send a clear message that the future belongs to every American, no matter what they look like, how they worship and whom they love.”

Justice Department Awards $37M to Address Backlog in Rape Kits

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department plans to use $37 million to help state, local and tribal governments address a backlog of sexual assault evidence that is preventing the capture  of violent offenders.

The grants are intended to help law enforcement reduce the backlog of sexual assault kits to help track down rapists, the Los Alamos Daily Post reports

“There is no greater injustice to a victim of sexual assault than a failure on the part of the system to exhaust its investigative possibilities,” said Alan Hanson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. “These awards will supply badly needed resources and manpower to our nation’s law enforcement agencies and prosecutors helping investigators and analysts do the urgent work of closing out cases and bringing answers to survivors.”

The Post wrote:

Administered through the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, managed by the Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance, 21 grant awards totaling more than $35 million were awarded to improve the processing of sexual assault kits and strengthen jurisdictions’ capacity to act on evidence resulting from kit processing. Those awards are available online at: https://www.bja.gov/funding/FY-2017-National-Sexual-Assault-Kit-Initiative-Funding-Awards.pdf 

Solving sex crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice requires a thorough understanding of the value of sexual assault evidence and a solid commitment to submitting sexual assault kits for testing. OJP’s resources help jurisdictions reduce their inventory of unsubmitted kits, bring offenders to justice, provide answers to victims and restore the safety of our communities.

The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative provides competitive grants for teams committed to reforming how their jurisdictions deal with cases of sexual assault. SAKI helps jurisdictions address the issues that lead to delayed testing of kits by providing funds to inventory, test and track sexual assault kits, as well as collect and submit DNA from suspects to the FBI’sCombined DNA Index System and hire crime analysts. The grants also support the investigation and prosecution of resulting cases and support the victims of sexual assault.

Other Stories of Interest

President Obama’s Close Friend Considered a “Hostile Witness” by Justice Department

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

One of President Obama’s closest friends is not cooperating in a federal investigation, prompting the Justice Department to seek Dr. Eric E. Whitaker as a “hostile witness,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Prosecutors filed the motion Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Springfield, where a Chicago businessman, Leon Dingle Jr., is on trial on charges of stealing more than $3 million in tax dollars from state grants.

Prosecutors said Whitaker, who has not been charged, benefited at least three times from the state grant money.

Whitaker incensed prosecutors when he backed off a deal to cooperate with investigators.

The cooperation ended, prosecutors said, when Whitaker was asked about his relationship with Quinshaunta R. Golden, the former state official who oversaw the grants.

Whitaker was asked whether he had a “sexual relationship” with Golden and refused to cooperate.

Prosecutors said he is “a witness clearly hostile to the government.”

Justice Department Squanders $100 Million on Faulty Grants to Organizations

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department wasted as much as $100 million by issuing grants to duplicate organizations or to programs that didn’t follow through on promises, the Washington Post reports, citing an inspector general report.

“There is virtually no visibility on how grant funds are actually used by the recipients,” said Michael Horowitz, the inspector general at the U.S. Department of Justice, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. “Unless there is an OIG audit or investigation, or the granting agency dedicates resources to collect and analyze accounting information from a recipient, the government and taxpayers are virtually in the dark regarding how grant funds were actually used.”

Among the organizations misusing the money is Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Horowitz said. “The continued listing of grant management as a top management challenge reflects the size, scope, complexity, and associated risks of mismanagement of the numerous grant programs administered by the department,” said Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. “As with many other aspects of government, these grant programs are not always designed or administered as efficiently as they should be — which means that less money is actually sent to help with boots on the ground.”