To ensure that each state and territory receives an appropriate share of JAG funds, allocation to state and local governments is based on a formula using population and crime statistics in combination with a minimum allocation. Funds are split 60/40 between state and local recipients within states. See a flow chart of Byrne JAG funding.
A Four-Step Process
Once the fiscal year Byrne JAG allocation has been determined, BJS undergoes a fourt-step award calculation process. This process is described in detail below.
Step 1: Initial Allocation to States and Territories
First, an initial allocation is computed for each state and territory, based on its share of the nation’s violent crime and population (weighted equally).
Based on the congressional appropriation for the 2014 JAG program, BJS calculates the initial allocation amounts for the 50 states and U.S. territories. Using the congressionally established formula, BJS allocates half of the available funds based on a state’s or territory’s share of the nation’s violent crime and half of the funds based on its share of the nation’s population. The most recent 3-year period of official violent crime data for states and territories from the FBI covered the period between 2010 and 2012. The population shares for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories were determined based on the results of the 2013 midyear population estimates published by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Step 2: De Minimus Awards
Second, the initial allocation amount is reviewed to determine if it is less than the minimum (de minimus) award amount defined in the JAG legislation (0.25% of the total). If this is the case, the state or territory is funded at the minimum level, and the funds required for this are deducted from the overall pool of funds. Each of the remaining states receives the minimum award plus an additional amount based on its share of violent crime and population.
The JAG legislation requires that each state or territory be awarded a minimum allocation equal to 0.25% of the total JAG allocation ($727,321 in 2014), regardless of its population or crime average. If a state or territory’s initial allocation based on crime and population is less than the minimum amount, that state or territory receives the minimum award amount as its total JAG allocation. If a state or territory’s initial allocation exceeds the minimum amount, it receives the minimum award plus the amount based on its share of the violent crime and population. Congress has made one exception to this rule: American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands are required to split one minimum award, with American Samoa receiving 67% ($487,305) and the Northern Mariana Islands receiving 33% ($240,016).
To compute the additional amounts, the crime and population data for states and territories receiving only the minimum award are removed from the pool, and the remaining JAG funds are reallocated to the rest of the states based on violent crime and population as in Step 1.
Step 3: 60%/40% Split
Except for the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, 60% of the total allocation to a state is retained by the state government, and 40% is set aside to be allocated to local governments. For example, iin 2014, California’s state government retained 60% of $32,245,797, or $19,347,478, while the remaining 40%, or $12,898,319 was set aside for distribution to local governments in California.
Step 4: Determining Local Award Allocations
Fourth, local award allocations are determined, based on a jurisdiction’s proportion of the state’s 3-year violent crime average. If a local jurisdiction’s calculated award is less than $10,000, the funds are returned to the state to distribute. If the calculated local award is $10,000 or more, then the local government is eligible to apply for an award.
In order to determine local awards, BJS determines which jurisdictions should be included in the calculation of the 3-year violent crime averages on which local awards are based. These crime averages are computed using data reported to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. To be eligible, a jurisdiction must have provided to the UCR a count of the number of Part I violent crimes known to law enforcement each year for a minimum of 3 years in the last 10 years. Jurisdictions that have not met the reporting requirements are excluded from the calculations and are not eligible to receive an award. The 10-year limit on the age of UCR data used for JAG local award calculations was applied for the first time during the 2009 Recovery Act.
After determining which law enforcement agencies have the 3 years of reported violent crime data required to be included in the calculations, BJS computes the average number of violent crimes reported by all law enforcement agencies in each jurisdiction (e.g., local government) for the 3 most recent years in which they reported data. Since awards to local governments are based on their share of all violent crimes reported by the law enforcement agencies in their state, BJS computes the sum of these averages within each state to determine the jurisdiction’s share of the total local award allocation.
BJS then calculates the initial amount of each local award. Each local award amount is equal to the product of a local jurisdiction’s 3-year violent crime average and the “dollars per rime” ratio for the state in which it is located. By statute, the minimum award a local jurisdiction may receive is $10,000. Jurisdictions that are eligible for an initial award greater than or equal to $10,000 are eligible to apply to receive the funds for their own use. If the initial award is less than $10,000, the award funds are transferred to the state administering agency for distribution to the state police or any units of local government that were ineligible for a direct award greater than or equal to $10,000.
Other Considerations: Disparate Jurisdictions and Joint Allocations
In some cases, as defined by the legislation, a disparity may exist between the funding eligibility of a county and associated municipalities. Three different types of disparities may exist. The first type is a zero-county disparity. This situation exists when one or more municipalities within a county are eligible for a direct award and the county is not, yet the county is responsible for providing criminal justice services (such as prosecution and incarceration) for the municipality. In this case, the county is entitled to part of the municipality’s award because it shares in the cost of criminal justice operations, although it may not report crime data to the FBI. This is the most common type of disparity.
For the 2014 JAG awards, approximately $283.8 million of the $290.9 million available was allocated to the 50 states, with the remainder allocated to the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.The BJS JAG Program report provides further detail about the allocation process, as well as a table of state and local allocations in 2014.