Justice Funding Held up by Federal Administration is Finally Available for Colorado Organizations

(Lakewood, Colo. - June 8, 2020) — Local victims’ services programs, justice organizations, and law enforcement can now begin accessing $5.5 million in 2018 and 2019 federal grants that they have been waiting for due to restrictions that the Trump Administration had placed on the grant funding.  

In 2018, the State of Colorado was awarded $2.7 million in federal funding for public safety through a program known as the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. In 2019, Colorado was awarded $2.8 million of these funds. 

The funds are distributed by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) within the Department of Public Safety to local Law enforcement, district attorneys and courts, community corrections, and programs that provide prevention and education, drug treatment, and support for crime victims and witness protection. The funds are used for equipment, technology, and training for those agencies, as well as to support services to rehabilitate offenders and ensure their accountability.

Although the funds had been awarded, they were being withheld by the Trump Administration, which was attempting to force local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law.

Governor Jared Polis and Attorney General Phil Weiser filed a lawsuit in federal court in March 2019 to ensure that state and local law enforcement agencies receive the funds the state of Colorado is entitled to, to protect states’ rights, and protect states from being required to do the job of the federal government.

Courts in Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, and California, as well as the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, all ruled that the Trump administration was violating the constitution by withholding these public safety funds.

On June 2, 2020, the US Department of Justice notified DCJ that it had removed the special conditions under question for Colorado, freeing up DCJ to start releasing the funds. 

“The decision by the Court of Appeals to remove the restrictions placed on the funds is welcome and timely. The JAG program has been a valuable tool in support of community safety strategies for many years. We are pleased to be able to once again support the innovation seen in the grants by our local partners,” said Governor Jared Polis.

“We are very grateful for the support of Governor Polis and Attorney General Weiser, and for their efforts to remove the immigration-related restrictions on the JAG funds. The decision by the Court of Appeals to remove the restrictions is welcome and timely," said DCJ Director Joe Thome. 

You can find the full list of Colorado JAG funding recipients under the “prior and current funding recipients” heading on this page: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dcj/justice-assistance-grant-jag.