Office Of Justice Programs Technical Assistance And Training Program

Audit Report No. 04-40
September 2004
Office of the Inspector General


The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has completed an audit of the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP’s) Technical Assistance and Training Program (TA&T). The objectives of the audit were to: (1) determine if the OJP implemented internal control measures to ensure accurate financial reporting by grantees; and (2) assess the OJP’s monitoring and evaluation of grant objectives. Our audit included an audit of various headquarters functions at the OJP, and audits of 21 individual TA&T grants. We issued separate reports on 20 of the 21 grant audits. One grant report has not been issued yet because the grantee is the subject of an ongoing OIG investigation. This report consolidates the principal findings of the 21 grant audits with results of our work at the OJP headquarters.


The OJP manages the Department of Justice’s multi-faceted grant program. The OJP reported that since its inception in 1984, it has awarded more than 80,000 grants totaling more than $39 billion, for a wide variety of programs to prevent and control crime (See Appendix VIII for details). For fiscal year (FY) 2004, the OJP had a budget of $3.3 billion.

The OJP is led by the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for Justice Programs, with a senior management team comprised of the Deputy AAG and five bureau heads. The OJP’s five bureaus and two program offices are the principal grant-making entities within the OJP. The five bureaus are: (1) the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); (2) the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP); (3) the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS); (4) the National Institute of Justice (NIJ); and (5) the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The two program offices include the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education and the Community Capacity Development Office.

In addition to the bureaus and program offices, nine other OJP offices provide agency-wide support. They are the Office for Civil Rights; Office of the General Counsel; Office of Communications; Office of the Chief Information Officer; and Office of Management and Administration (OMA). Under the OMA are the Office of Administration, Office of Budget and Management Services, Office of the Comptroller, and the Equal Opportunity Office.

Programs developed and funded by OJP bureaus and offices seek to control drug abuse and trafficking; reduce and prevent crime; rehabilitate neighborhoods; improve the administration of justice; meet the needs of crime victims; and address problems such as gang violence, prison overcrowding, juvenile crime, and white-collar crime.

Generally, the OJP bureaus and program offices award two types of grants - formula grants and discretionary grants. Formula grants are awarded to state and local governments based on a pre-determined formula using, for example, a jurisdiction's crime rate, population, or other such factors. The states are generally required to pass through a significant portion of the formula awards to local agencies and other organizations in the form of sub-grants. Formula grant programs in areas such as drug control, juvenile justice, victims’ compensation, and victims’ assistance are administered by state agencies designated by each state's governor. Block grant funding is given to a state by the federal government to run programs within defined guidelines. The states generally allocate these funds to local organizations through sub-grants.

Discretionary grants are awarded on a competitive basis to public and private agencies, private non-profit organizations, and universities. However, certain discretionary grants are awarded on a non-competitive basis, as required by congressionally earmarked funding. Discretionary grant funds are announced in the Federal Register or through program solicitations on OJP websites. Grant applications are made directly to the OJP’s sponsoring bureau or program office. The bureaus and program offices, together with OJP’s Office of the Comptroller, are responsible for awarding and monitoring discretionary grants to ensure that they are being implemented as intended, responsive to grant goals and objectives, and compliant with statutory regulations and other policy guidelines.

OJP Reorganization

In 2002, Congress approved a reorganization plan for the OJP. The plan sought to: (a) improve responsiveness, assistance, and accountability to all customers; (b) eliminate duplication and overlap; (c) ensure measurable grant and program outcomes; and (d) enhance communication, cooperation, coordination, and efficiency. The plan had eight objectives:

  • The OJP should have a strategic plan that reflects statutory requirements and the mission and goals of the President and the Attorney General.

  • The statutes governing the OJP bureaus and program offices should be amended to provide that all authority resides in the Attorney General.

  • Management policies and procedures should be standardized throughout the OJP.

  • An OJP-wide grants management system should be instituted.

  • The OJP should be more responsive to the needs and questions of grantees.

  • Centralized communication should be established at the OJP.

  • Coordination of legislative, statutory, and regulatory activities and reviews should be improved.

  • The OJP should consolidate and coordinate currently overlapping functions.

To accomplish the eight objectives, the OJP planned to implement the restructuring in phases. The reorganization left the OJP’s five bureaus intact, established two program offices, transferred certain offices within the OJP, combined four support offices into a new Office of Management and Administration, and transferred two offices out of the OJP.5

The OJP believes that its new organizational structure, some of which has already been implemented, should improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the grant management program. Specifically, it believes the reduction and realignment of program and support offices should improve communication and cooperation among the OJP components.

The OJP’s current organizational structure is shown on the following chart.6

Organization of the Office Of Justice Programs7

Organizational chart for the Office of Justice programs. For text version, click on chart.
Source: Office of Justice Programs

The OJP’s Technical Assistance and Training Program

One of the OJP’s major functions is to “implement national and multi-state programs, provide technical assistance and training, and establish demonstration programs to assist state, local, and tribal governments and community groups in: reducing crime; enforcing state and local drug laws; and improving the function of the criminal justice system.”8

During FY 2003, the OJP awarded $312.5 million in grants exclusively for TA&T programs.9 As of April 28, 2004, the OJP had awarded $126.9 million in TA&T grants for FY 2004. Funding for such grants generally is awarded through discretionary grants. However, the OJP may determine, under certain conditions, that funding for existing block and formula grants can be used for TA&T programs. Congress also may mandate that funds from block and formula grants be set aside for TA&T programs.

TA&T grants are designed in accordance with the specific mandates associated with each bureau or program office, and can be customized to meet the specific needs of a state or local community. TA&T grants can also address a variety of topics. For example:

  • The BJA provides a wide array of training and technical assistance programs to provide criminal justice practitioners with information on effective programs and practices, and to address new criminal justice issues.

  • The OJJDP seeks to strengthen the essential components of the juvenile justice system by providing training, technical assistance, and information on trends, new approaches, and innovative techniques to courts; court personnel; law enforcement; detention and corrections; youth service providers; and child advocacy organizations.

  • The Office of Weed and Seed10 provides training and technical assistance to communities in an attempt to strengthen program implementation11 and strategy development, as well as to increase information sharing among the sites nationwide.

  • The OVC’s training and technical assistance activities are intended to expand and enhance the coordination and delivery of services to crime victims; improve the criminal justice and social services system response to victims of crime; and support the development and distribution of policies, procedures, and protocols in the treatment and handling of crime victims by Native American tribes, state and local governments, and private non-profit organizations.

Because the OJJDP and the BJA awarded $289 million, or 92.5 percent of the $312.5 million in TA&T grants during FY 2003, our audit focused on the administration and evaluation of TA&T grants by those two bureaus.

Percentage of Fiscal Year 2003 Technical Assistance and Training
Dollars by OJP Bureau

OJJDP awarded 64.39% of grant dollars. BJA awarded 28.09% of grant dollars. BJS awarded 3.06% of grant dollars. OVC awarded 2.97% of grant dollars. EOWS awarded 1.49% of grant dollars.
Source: The Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Budget and Management Services

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

The OJJDP supports states, local communities, and tribal jurisdictions in their efforts to develop and implement effective programs for juveniles. According to OJJDP, it also strives to enable the juvenile justice system to better protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and provide services tailored to the needs of youth and their families.

The OJJDP sponsors numerous research, program, and training initiatives; develops priorities and goals, and sets policies to guide federal juvenile justice issues; disseminates information about juvenile justice issues; and awards funds to states to support local programming nationwide through its four organizational components. To carry out its mission, the OJJDP:

  • Analyzes the training needs of professionals and volunteers working in the juvenile justice system, and develops and implements curriculums to meet these needs;

  • Conducts training programs and technical assistance for federal, state, and local governments; private agencies; professionals; volunteers; and others who serve the juvenile justice system, including law enforcement, the judiciary, corrections, education, and community organizations; and

  • Provides needs assessments for community planning concerning gang and drug problems in order to develop effective intervention strategies.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance

The BJA’s mission is to provide leadership and assistance in support of local criminal justice strategies to achieve safe communities. According to BJA, its overall goals are to: (1) reduce and prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse; and (2) improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. To achieve these goals, BJA programs emphasize enhanced coordination and cooperation of federal, state, and local efforts. The BJA's objectives in support of these goals are to:

  • Encourage the development and implementation of comprehensive strategies to reduce and prevent crime and violence;

  • Encourage the active participation of community organizations and citizens in efforts to prevent crime, drug abuse, and violence;

  • Provide technical assistance and training in support of efforts to prevent crime, drug abuse, and violence at the national, state, and local levels;

  • Reduce the availability of illegal weapons and develop strategies to address violence in our communities;

  • Enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies to reduce crime;

  • Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all aspects of the adjudication process, including indigent defense services;

  • Assist states in freeing prison space for serious and violent offenders through the design and implementation of effective correctional options for non-violent offenders;

  • Enhance the ability of criminal justice agencies to access and use new information technologies; and

  • Encourage and support evaluation of the effectiveness of funded programs and dissemination of program results.

The BJA has three primary components: Policy, Programs, and Planning. The Policy Office provides national leadership in criminal justice policy, training, and technical assistance to further the administration of justice. It also acts as a liaison to national organizations that partner with the BJA to set policy and help disseminate information on best and promising practices. The Programs Office coordinates and administers all state and local grant programs and acts as the BJA's direct line of communication to states, territories, and tribal governments by providing assistance and coordinating resources. The Planning Office coordinates the planning, communications, and budget formulation and execution; provides overall BJA-wide coordination; and supports streamlining efforts.

Grant Monitoring

The OJP’s Office of the Comptroller (OC) and program managers in each of the five bureaus have grant-monitoring responsibilities. The three general categories of monitoring activities are:12

    Performance. This type of monitoring addresses the content and substance of the program. It is a qualitative review to determine grant performance, innovation, and contributions to the field. It assesses whether grant activities are consistent with the implementation plan, responsive to grant goals and objectives, and compliant with statutory regulations and other policy guidelines. Performance monitoring also involves assessing technical assistance needs and observing implementation of projects.

    Compliance. This type of monitoring is coordinated between grant managers and the OC and involves administrative monitoring activities such as addressing compliance with the grant terms and conditions, reporting requirements, and completeness of documentation in the official grant file.

    Financial. This type of monitoring is conducted by the OC but also involves coordination with the grant managers. It ensures compliance with financial guidelines and general accounting practices, and provides technical assistance to grantees on financial issues. The fiscal management of grant expenditures is reviewed as well.

Prior Reviews

Two prior reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the OJP’s grant-monitoring activities:

  • Grants Management: Despite Efforts to Improve Weed and Seed Program Management, Challenges Remain, GAO-04-245, March 2004.

  • Juvenile Justice: Better Documentation of Discretionary Grant Monitoring is Needed, GAO-02-65, October 2001.

Although these reports were specific to bureaus within the OJP, they contained findings similar to those of our audit, such as:

  • Monitoring activities are insufficiently performed by grant managers;

  • Management cannot rely on supervisory oversight of grant managers to ensure that monitoring is being performed as required; the requirements as stated in the staff performance work plans are too general to provide a means for assessing the monitoring activities of the grant managers;

  • Some grant files did not contain the required closeout materials;

  • Outcome performance measures had not been developed to track progress toward accomplishment of program goals.


  1. As a result of congressional legislation in 2002, the name of the Violence Against Women Office was changed to the Office on Violence Against Women. The Office now reports to the Attorney General through the Office of the Associate Attorney General. The Office of Domestic Preparedness was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security.

  2. For a description of the OJP’s bureaus, program offices, and support offices, see Appendix VII.

  3. Effective March 1, 2003.

  4. Department of Justice: Organization, Mission and Functions Manual, March 2004.

  5. This represented approximately 22 percent of the $1.4 billion of all grants that included an aspect of TA&T. While the universe included grants that were awarded for multiple purposes, our audit focused on grants that were awarded solely for TA&T projects.

  6. This office is located within the Community Capacity Development Office.

  7. The Weed and Seed Program seeks to prevent and reduce violent crime in targeted neighborhoods. The program proposes to “weed” out crime in these neighborhoods and “seed” them with a variety of programs to prevent crime from recurring.

  8. See Appendix XII for additional details on grant-monitoring activities.