Justice Department Awards over $273.4 Million to Improve Public Safety, Serve Crime Victims in American Indian and Alaskan Native Communities

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in the Soeuthern District of Mississippi Awarded $363,000 in Funding

 

From:  News Release   10/18/19   GCN

 

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that it has awarded over $273.4 million in grants to improve public safety, serve victims of crime, combat violence against women and support youth programs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

 

"Violent crime and domestic abuse in American Indian and Alaska Native communities remain at unacceptably high levels, and they demand a response that is both clear and comprehensive," said Attorney General William P. Barr. "We will continue to work closely with our tribal partners to guarantee they have the resources they need to curb violence and bring healing to the victims most profoundly affected by it."

 

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in the Southern District of Mississippi was awarded $363,000 in federal funding under the Tribal Victim Services Program.

 

"Helping victims of crime is one of the most important things we do in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and this grant will greatly improve services for crime victims among the Choctaw Indians. We are committed to continuing our close partnership with the Tribe in order to prevent and reduce violence and ensure victims are provided the services they deserve," said U.S. Attorney Hurst.

 

"The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ Department of Family and Community Services is indeed grateful to receive this much-needed US DOJ grant for our Tribal Victim Services Program. We are making a concerted effort to combat domestic violence on the Choctaw Indian Reservation, and our strategic approach can use all of the fiscal and human resources that we can garner to eliminate this chronic problem. Innocent Tribal victims of family violence are in need of our direct and immediate assistance to foster their safety and healing, while our Tribal Government continues working to diminish the instances and effects of violent crime," said Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben.

 

Chad Lamar, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi also praised the Department’s decision to award federal grant funding to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. "The fight against violent crime is ongoing and always a priority throughout our District," Lamar stated. "This grant will greatly assist our Tribal partners in efforts to combat violent crime and domestic abuse and to better serve crime victims within our communities."

 

Nationwide, 236 grants were awarded to 149 American Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages and other tribal designees through the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation, a streamlined application for tribal-specific grant programs. Of the $118 million awarded via CTAS, just over $62.6 million comes from the Office of Justice Programs, about $33.1 million from the Office on Violence Against Women and more than $23.2 million from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. A portion of the funding will support tribal youth mentoring and intervention services, help native communities implement requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, and provide training and technical assistance to tribal communities. Another $5.5 million was funded by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to provide training and technical assistance to CTAS awardees.

 

The Department also announced awards and other programming totaling $167.2 million in a set-aside program to serve victims of crime. The awards are intended to help tribes develop, expand and improve services to victims by supporting programming and technical assistance. About $25.6 million of these awards were awarded under CTAS and are included in the $118 million detailed above.

 

CTAS funding helps tribes develop and strengthen their justice systems’ response to crime, while expanding services to meet their communities’ public safety needs. The awards cover 10 purpose areas: public safety and community policing; justice systems planning; alcohol and substance abuse; corrections and correctional alternatives; children’s justice act partnerships; services for victims of crime; violence against women; juvenile justice; violent crime reduction; and tribal youth programs.

 

The Department also provided $6.1 million to help tribes to comply with federal law on sex offender registration and notification, $1.7 million in separate funding to assist tribal youth and nearly $500,000 to support tribal research on missing and murdered indigenous women and children and other public safety-related topics.

 

Today’s announcement is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing initiative to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.