Bureau of Justice Assistance

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The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, within the United States Department of Justice.

On Monday, December 13, 2010, President Barack Obama sent to the U.S. Senate the nomination of Denise O'Donnell, of New York, to be the Director of the Bureau, in the place of Domingo S. Herraiz, who resigned.

BJA Mission:

To provide leadership and services in grant administration and criminal justice policy development to support local, state, and tribal justice strategies to achieve safer communities.

The BJA's overall goals are to (1) reduce and prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse and (2) improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. To achieve these goals, BJA programs emphasize enhanced coordination and cooperation of federal, state, and local efforts. BJA's objectives in support of these goals are to:

  • Encourage the development and implementation of comprehensive strategies to reduce and prevent crime and violence.
  • Encourage the active participation of community organizations and citizens in efforts to prevent crime, drug abuse, and violence.
  • Provide training and technical assistance in support of efforts to prevent crime, drug abuse, and violence at the national, state, and local levels.
  • Reduce the availability of illegal weapons and develop strategies to address violence in our communities.
  • Enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies to reduce crime.
  • Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all aspects of the adjudication process, including indigent defense services.
  • Assist states in freeing prison space for serious and violent offenders through the design and implementation of effective correctional options for nonviolent offenders.
  • Enhance the ability of criminal justice agencies to access and use new information technologies.
  • Encourage and support evaluation of the effectiveness of funded programs and dissemination of program results.

The BJA has three primary components: National Policy, State Policy, and Planning. The National Policy Office provides national leadership in criminal justice policy, training, and technical assistance to further the administration of justice. It also acts as a liaison to national organizations that partner with the BJA to set policy and help disseminate information on best and promising practices. The State Policy Office coordinates and administers all state and local grant programs and acts as the BJA's direct line of communication to states, territories, and tribal governments by providing assistance and coordinating resources. The Planning Office coordinates the planning, communications, and budget formulation and execution; provides overall BJA-wide coordination; and supports streamlining efforts.


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