Program Information


Part 1 Violent Crime. Part 1 Violent Crime means murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault as reported to the FBI for purposes of the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR).

An alternative definition of "violent crime" may be used for purposes of providing data to demonstrate compliance with the eligibility requirements. States may use the definition for Part 1 violent crimes as defined above, or a reasonably comparable class of serious violent crimes, as defined by the state and approved by the United States Attorney General.

Determinate sentence. A sentence to confinement for a fixed period as specified by statute.

Indeterminate sentence. A sentence that the court imposes in a range defined by statute and for which an administrative agency, generally the parole board or the court, controls the release within the statutory range.

Purposes of the VOI/TIS Grant Program

The purposes of the VOI/TIS incentive grants are to provide funds to states to:

Violent Offender Incarceration Grants--Eligibility Requirements

The Violent Offender Incarceration grant funds are allocated to states using a three-tiered formula--85 percent of the total funds available for the first two tiers and 15 percent for the third. Each tier has different criteria for eligibility. Eligible states may receive funding under all three tiers, but no state may receive more than 9 percent of the total funds available.

Tier 1. A state must assure that it has implemented, or will implement, correctional policies and programs including truth-in-sentencing laws that ensure that violent offenders serve a substantial portion of the sentences imposed; are designed to provide sufficiently severe punishment for violent offenders, including violent juvenile offenders; and ensure that the prison time served is appropriately related to the determination that the inmate is a violent offender and for a period of time deemed necessary to protect the public.

Each eligible state will receive a base allocation of 0.75 percent of the total funds available for Tiers 1 and 2, except the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Territories, which will receive a base allocation of 0.05 percent. The balance of the funds is distributed under Tier 2.

Tier 2. A state that receives a grant under Tier 1 is eligible to receive additional funds if it demonstrates that since 1993 it has increased:

Tier 2 funds are allocated to an eligible state in the ratio its Part 1 violent crimes, as reported to the FBI during the preceding 3 years, bear to the average number of Part 1 violent crimes for all eligible states.

Tier 3. A state that receives a grant under Tier 1 (and Tier 2, if applicable) is eligible for additional funds if it can demonstrate that it has:

Each eligible state, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will receive a base allocation of 3 percent. The Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will receive a base allocation of .03 percent. The balance is allocated to each eligible state on the basis of its share of the average annual number of Part 1 violent crimes for the preceding 3 years, as reported to and published by the FBI for all eligible states.

Truth-in-Sentencing Incentive Grants—Eligibility Requirements

An applicant state must demonstrate any one of the following:

Truth-in-Sentencing grant funds will be allocated to each eligible state on the basis of its share of the average annual number of Part 1 violent crimes for the preceding 3 years, as reported to and published by the FBI for all eligible states. No state may receive more than 25 percent of the total amount available for Truth-in-Sentencing.

Exception for Geriatric Prisoners and Prisoners with Medical Conditions

The Governor of the state may allow for the early release of:

Demonstrated Ability to Operate Facilities

Each applicant state must demonstrate its ability to fully support, operate, and maintain correctional facilities constructed with the grant funds in the form of a certification from the Governor that the state will use the grant funds to build or expand correctional facilities and intends to complete and operate such facilities. The applicant

must also indicate that if grant funds will be awarded to units of local government, it will require a similar certification from the authorized official of the local jurisdiction that will receive the funds.

Recognition of the Rights of Crime Victims

To be eligible to receive a grant, an applicant state is required to provide an assurance that it has implemented or will implement by October 26, 1997, policies that provide for the rights and needs of crime victims.

States are not required to adopt a mandated set of victims' rights measures to comply with this provision, but the adoption by a state of measures that are comparable to or exceed those applied in federal proceedings will be deemed sufficient compliance for funding eligibility. If the state has not adopted victims' rights measures that are comparable to or exceed federal law in these areas, the adequacy of compliance will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Drug Testing, Intervention, and Sanctions Program

The FY 1997 Appropriations Act included a new provision that requires the states to implement a program of drug testing, intervention, and sanctions for offenders under corrections supervision. The provision does not affect the application requirement for FY 1997 funds. Beginning in FY 1999, and thereafter, no funds shall be available to a state for VOI/TIS unless, not later than September 1, 1998, such state has implemented a program of controlled substance testing and intervention for appropriate categories of convicted offenders during periods of incarceration and subsequent criminal justice supervision, with sanctions including denial or revocation of release for positive controlled substance tests.

Reporting of Inmate Deaths

Most state correctional agencies provide annual reports of general information on prison inmate deaths to OJP’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) through the Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities. The Census collects aggregate information on admissions to and releases from prisons, including: deaths from illnesses/natural causes (excluding AIDS), AIDS, suicides, accidental injury to self, death caused by another person, executions, and “unspecified causes.” For purposes of the VOI/TIS Grant Program, states are required to provide the information on inmate deaths in the annual BJS Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities.

Juvenile Facilities

Grant funds may be used to build or expand correctional facilities to increase bed capacity for violent juvenile offenders. In addition, if a state certifies that exigent circumstances exist that require the state to expend funds to build or expand facilities to confine juvenile offenders other than juvenile offenders adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult would be a Part 1 violent crime, it may use grant funds to build or expand juvenile correctional facilities, including pretrial detention facilities and boot camps to increase capacity for the confinement of such nonviolent juvenile offenders, as defined by the Crime Act. Exigent circumstances may include an increase in juvenile violent crime prosecutions or overcrowding of juvenile correctional facilities.

Match Requirement

The Federal share of a grant-funded project may not exceed 90 percent of the total costs of the project. The 10 percent matching funds must be in the form of cash match. Any formula grant funds used to administer the program are also subject to the same match requirements.15 The matching funds must be provided on a project by project basis, within the grant project period.

Supplanting Prohibition

Federal funds must be used to supplement existing funds for program activities and may not replace (supplant) non-Federal funds which have been appropriated for the same purpose.

Reporting Requirements

Grant recipients must submit:

14 When a state's Truth-in-Sentencing laws do not require all categories (e.g., aggravated assault) of Part 1 violent crime offenders to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed, the state can qualify for TIS funds if the average sentence for all Part 1 violent offenders is not less than 85 percent of the sentence imposed.

15 States may use up to 3 percent of the total formula grant award for costs associated with administration of the program.