New DOJ $$s to Combat Online Child Exploitation, Improve Reentry Services
The Department of Justice (DOJ) will provide more than $110 million in grants to help returning citizens re-integrate with civil society and to improve correctional educational and employment services for current incarcerees.
Another $141 million will be earmarked for programs aimed at improving the judicial system’s handling of child abuse.
The announcements from the DOJ are the latest in a flurry of holiday season grants geared towards focusing on critical but often underfunded areas of the justice system. Earlier this week, the Justice Department pledged $300 million to programs aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic.
The funds are awarded by the DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP).
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said the incarceration-related resources were “critical” both to successful reintegration of former incarcerees and to the health and safety of communities.
“We are committed to ensuring that formerly incarcerated individuals get the treatment, training and support they need after returning to their communities,” she said in a statement accompanying Wednesday’s announcement.
“We must help them reunite with their families, find a place to live, obtain health care services and behavioral health support, get an education and enter the work force.”
The OJP funds related to children include a hefty $37 million to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), and $29.5 million to conduct forensic examinations and to investigate and prosecute technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation throughout the U.S. under the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program.
“The Justice Department has a solemn responsibility to help keep young people safe and out of harm’s way,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.
“These grants provide a wide variety of investigative and trauma-informed resources that will help law enforcement and child-serving professionals address child exploitation and abuse.”
A large portion of the incarceration-related grants ($60 million) will be awarded to programs authorized under the Second Chance Act for adult reentry and recidivism reduction.
“If we truly believe in second chances and the power of redemption, we must provide those who leave our jails, prisons and confinement facilities with the tools and support to assume a positive and productive role in our society.” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon.
Designated awardees of the corrections grants include:
- Second Chance Act: Adult Reentry Education, Employment, Treatment and Recovery Program ($26.3 million) to improve correctional educational and employment services for incarcerated populations;
- Second Chance Act Community-Based Reentry Program ($12.9 million) to continue funding of reentry programs “that demonstrate strong partnerships with corrections, parole, probation and other reentry service providers”; and
- Second Chance Act Pay for Success Initiative ($6.5 million) to help state, local and tribal governments to implement contracts with reentry, permanent supportive housing or recovery housing providers, and address the substance use disorders.
The awards also include $29.6 million in grants to help states develop residential substance-use treatment programs inside state prisons and jails, and $3.4 million to implement projects aimed at detecting and preventing sexual abuse inside confinement facilities in line with standards set by the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
Another $16 million is allocated for reentry services for juveniles, including help to incarcerated parents with children under 18 returning to their communities.