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Washington state awarded $5 million for criminal justice

August 24, 2013 · Updated 11:07 AM
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The U.S. Justice Department today awarded nearly $5 million dollars in grants to improve criminal justice in Washington State, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

The largest grant, $3.6 million, will be funneled through the Washington State Department of Commerce.  An advisory council made up of law enforcement, corrections, treatment and prevention professionals at the local, state and federal level selects the grant recipients throughout the state.  Individual police departments also received $1.3 million in direct grants, and the University of Washington received more than $247,000 for its Wrongful Conviction Review Program.

“These Byrne grants, named for a young police officer who lost his life in the line of duty, are critical to the mission of our local police departments,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “These grant awards are key to helping police forces with scarce resources so they can better protect public safety.”
The City of Seattle and surrounding jurisdictions applied together for the largest grant:  $635,618.  The money will go to a variety of law enforcement programs aimed at preventing and reducing crime and providing services to victims. Tacoma and surrounding jurisdictions also did a combined application.  The Tacoma group was awarded $286,619 for various community-based policing and prosecution programs.  Priorities include youth violence, crime prevention and community policing.
These are the other direct Byrne grants awarded today:
Significant funding, $247, 593, was awarded today to the University of Washington Wrongful Conviction Review Program, known as the Innocence Project Northwest.  The Program provides high quality and efficient representation for potentially wrongfully convicted defendants in post-conviction claims of innocence.  The goals of this initiative are to: provide quality representation to those who may have been wrongfully convicted; alleviate burdens placed on the criminal justice system through costly and prolonged post-conviction litigation; and identify, whenever possible, the actual perpetrator of the crime.
The Byrne Grants are named in honor of New York City Police Officer Edward R. Byrne, who was killed in the line of duty on February 26, 1988.  Officer Byrne was just 22-years-old.  The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) administers this program, which allows state and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime and to improve the justice system.

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