Governor Ralph Northam announced today that $50 million in funds administered by the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) were awarded to localities, state agencies, and non-profit organizations to benefit Virginia’s criminal justice system. The Criminal Justice Services Board (CJSB) approved the grant awards at their June 14 meeting.
The awarded funds come from a variety of federal and state grant programs, including the Victim Witness Grant Program, the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program, and the Jail Mental Health Pilot Program. This amount does not include the School Resource Officer/School Security Officer grants that were announced separately, earlier today.
“Building a safer and healthier Virginia starts with ensuring that every community has the tools and resources it needs,” said Governor Northam. “With these grants, we can provide support for essential programs and help localities and state agencies address everything from crime prevention to services for victims of crime.”
One of the grants approved by the CJSB was awarded to the Department of Forensic Science (DFS) and will fund the purchase of two gas chromatography/mass spectrometer instruments. These instruments are used to aid forensic scientists in performing chemical analysis on seized drugs and will aid in the processing of those cases. From 2015 to 2017, DFS saw the number of submitted controlled substances cases increase by approximately 20 percent.
“Grants, like the one awarded to DFS, are critical to addressing pressing and timely criminal justice issues,” said Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security. “The equipment purchased with these funds will help Virginia combat the opioid crisis by enabling us to better track the movement of illicit drugs and inform public policy.”
“It is the Department’s job to look at and support the criminal justice system as a whole,” said DCJS Director Shannon Dion. “These grant awards reflect that commitment. The funding provided today will support services for reentry, substance abuse prevention, sexual assault victims, and more.”
A total of $18.7 million in grant funds was approved for 113 victim witness programs. In the 2017 fiscal year, victim witness programs funded by DCJS grants provided direct service to over 71,000 individuals.