Our mission is to continuously address, improve, sustain and enhance public safety in the State of Arizona through the coordination, cohesiveness and effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System.
Drug, Gang & Violent Crime
The mission of the Drug, Gang, and Violent Crime Control (DGVCC) program is to enhance and coordinate the funded efforts to deter, investigate, prosecute, adjudicate, and punish drug, violent crime, and criminal street gang offenders.
This program uses funding from federal, state, and local sources to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime based on local needs and conditions.
The program administers the federally funded Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG Grant Program), a congressionally consolidated local law enforcement program, previously known as Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant Program and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program (LLEBG). The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) is designated as the State Administrative Agency (SAA) for this federal grant. ACJC also utilizes state revenue from the Drug and Gang Enforcement (DGE) Fund, which are monies derived from fines for felony drug offense convictions. Funding from these sources are used to provide grants to state, county, and local agencies to support activities that combat drug, gang, and violent crime.
In 1996, ACJC was also designated as the SAA for the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Grant Program (RSAT). RSAT enhances the capabilities of states and units of local and tribal governments to provide residential substance abuse treatment for incarcerated inmates, as well and reintegration and reentry services.
This program also administers some non‐grant criminal justice projects such as Fill the Gap funds for distribution to counties.
DGVCC currently supports the following grant programs:
Fill the GAP
The DGVCC program is supported by multiple funding sources to meet its mission. The following represents a detailed description of the grant program funding sources associated with the program:
Drug Control Grant Funding
Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG): The Byrne JAG Grant, authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 3751(a), is the primary source of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. The grant program was established by the federal government to streamline justice funding and grant administration. Issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Byrne JAG grant supports a wide range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, crime victim and witness initiatives, and planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs. Allocations to states are based on an annual congressional appropriation and statutory formula. States are also required to pass through a percentage of Byrne JAG funds to local governments based on a proportionate share of state and local criminal justice spending amounts. ACJC must apply for this grant annually.
Drug and Gang Enforcement Fund (DGE): The DGE fund generates revenue through mandatory fines and surcharges from convicted drug offenders that are collected under A.R.S. § 41-2402. DEA funds are to be used for the purpose of enhancing efforts to deter, investigate, prosecute, adjudicate and punish drug offenders as well as members of criminal street gangs. The allocation of monies from this fund cannot exceed 50 percent to law enforcement agencies, 50 percent to state, county, city or town prosecution agencies, 30 percent to courts, 30 percent to county or state corrections agencies, and 30 percent to criminal justice records integration.
Matching funds: The Commission has elected to require recipients to provide matching funds to leverage the federal and state dollars committed to the program. Matching funds build buy-in and ownership for local criminal justice initiatives and increase the overall size and effectiveness of the program.
RSAT Grant Funding
Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) for State Prisoners Grant: Congress established the RSAT program under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The RSAT Grant is a federal grant issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance for purposes of developing and implementing substance abuse treatment programs in state, local, and tribal correctional and detention facilities and to create and maintain community-based aftercare services for offenders. Funding is distributed to states based on a formula that includes a base amount and the ratio of the state’s prison population to the total prison population of all the states. ACJC must apply for this grant annually.
Matching funds: Under the requirements of this federal grant, each project must provide a 25 percent match share of the total project costs.
Fill the Gap Funding
State Aid to County Attorneys Fund: Legislative appropriation consisting of a 15.44% allocation of a 7% penalty assessment on fines, penalties, and forfeitures imposed by the courts for criminal and civil motor vehicle violations, and a 21.61% allocation of a 5% portion of fines and fees collected by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
State Aid to Indigent Defense Fund: Legislative appropriation consisting of a 14.66% allocation of a 7% penalty assessment on fines, penalties, and forfeitures imposed by the courts for criminal and civil motor vehicle violations, and a 20.53% allocation of a 5% portion of fines and fees collected by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
Funding for Other Projects
Other Sources: When additional resources become available, the Commission can allocate those funds to appropriate projects. For example, in 2015 the Commission had the opportunity to collaborate with the Arizona Department of Health Services to fund substance abuse prevention programs throughout the state and Laws 2017, Chapter 286, appropriated $2.75 million to ACJC to distribute to county attorney offices for felony pretrial intervention programs.
The DGVCC Program seeks to curtail the flow of illicit drugs, drug proceeds and instruments used to perpetuate violence across Arizona and reduce violent crime and illicit drug use and deter repeat offenders in Arizona. In response to drug, gang and violent crime in Arizona, the following six purpose areas have been identified as potential funding areas for the Drug Control Grant:
- Forensic Support Services
- Adjudication and Sentencing
- Corrections and Community Corrections
- Prevention and Education.
Apprehension: Serving as the entry point into the criminal justice system and having a primary role in maintaining public order and enforcing the law, law enforcement efforts play a critical role in contributing to the achievement of the two goals of the Strategy. Key elements of focus include disrupting and dismantling trafficking and associated criminal networks, and interdicting drugs, proceeds, and weapons.
The apprehension purpose area may include, but is not limited to, efforts promoting enhanced information sharing and intelligence exchange, approaches to address locally distinct drug, gang and violent crime-related challenges, and proactive policing strategies to address drug, gang and violent crime such as multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task forces. Over the years, the DGVCC program has provided consistent support to multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional drug, gang and violent crime task forces and has regarded task forces and their tandem prosecution projects as the centerpiece of program efforts.
Prosecution: With the duty of seeking justice and protecting the public safety and welfare of the community, prosecutorial efforts have a critical function as cases about drug, gang and violent crime move through the criminal justice system, from investigation to charging decisions and sentencing. Prosecutorial efforts are an important contributor to achieving the goals of the Strategy, with a primary role of holding offenders properly accountable.
The prosecution purpose area may include, but is not limited to, prosecutorial efforts in tandem with multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional drug, gang and violent crime task forces, efforts to deny criminals currency, property and drugs such as statewide civil forfeiture efforts, and other effective prosecution strategies to address drug, gang and violent crime. Historically, prosecution efforts in tandem with multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task forces have been a primary focus for moving forward the goals of the DGVCC program.
Forensic Support Services: Forensic support services directed toward detecting crime and identifying criminals are fundamental to supporting law enforcement and prosecution agencies in addressing drug, gang and violent crime. Providing expedient, reliable, accurate and unbiased forensic support services promotes efficient case processing and enhances the operation of law enforcement and prosecution functions in the state, contributing to the advancement of the goals of the Strategy. The Commission has provided continuous support to the forensic support services purpose area over the years, as forensic support projects have provided significant utility to apprehension and prosecution efforts.
The forensic support services purpose area includes activities such as evidence examination and analysis, development of investigative leads, training, providing expert courtroom testimony and other forensic support services as they pertain to drug, gang and violent crime-related cases.
Adjudication and Sentencing: When stability and balance are characteristic of adjudication and sentencing processes for drug, gang and violent crime cases, there is greater system efficiency, offenders are held appropriately accountable, and offenders often receive services to deter repeat offenses. Efficient, effective adjudication processes contribute to moving forward the goals of the Strategy. Traditionally, the Commission has regarded the adjudication and sentencing purpose areas as fulfilling a critical support role to apprehension and prosecution efforts and thus has provided consistent support to adjudication and sentencing projects.
The adjudication and sentencing purpose area may encompass a range of activities associated with court processes. Such activities include, but are not limited to, pre-trial services, improved criminal court case processing, supporting specialty courts and public defender services.
Corrections and Community Corrections: Corrections and community corrections are critical elements to assuring public safety and offender accountability in addition to providing opportunities to deter repeat offenses. Corrections and community corrections can be a pathway for impacting drug, gang and violent crime and moving forward the goals of the Strategy.
This purpose area includes projects responding to the needs of prison and jail facilities and corrections practitioners to providing secure care for offenders of drug, gang and violent crime. Projects could include, but are not limited to, safety and security improvements, inmate programming, corrections equipment and technology, and contraband control and detection. For community corrections, projects may include, but are not limited to, pre-release planning, coordinated reentry services, and supporting probation and parole services for offenders of drug, gang and violent crime.
Prevention and Education: Effective prevention and education efforts designed to prevent and/or reduce drug, gang and violent crime are cost-effective and result in increased public safety. A proactive approach that addresses drug, gang and violent crime before its inception and creates an opportunity to thwart negative consequences related to safety, health, and academic achievement. Prevention and education efforts may be an effective means for moving forward the goals of the Strategy.
The prevention and education purpose area encompasses evidence-based interventions and environmental prevention strategies. Efforts should involve multiple sectors of the community and focus on reducing access and opportunity, enforcing consequences and decreasing the likelihood of engaging in drug, gang and/or violent crime by addressing risk and protective factors.
The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program (RSAT) was created to fund the development of substance abuse treatment programs in state and local correctional facilities. The program encourages states to adopt comprehensive approaches to substance abuse treatment for offenders. The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program is divided into three components:
- The requirements for the RSAT Program in prisons and juvenile detention facilities are statutorily mandated. As such, a program must be: designed to last between 6 to 12 months; provided in residential treatment facilities set apart from the general correctional population; directed at the substance abuse problems of the inmate; and develop the prisoners cognitive, behavioral, social, vocational, and other skills to solve the inmates substance abuse and related problems. It is preferred that treatment commences 6 to 12 months before release from prison.
- The jail-based treatment program requirements also are statutorily mandated. It requires: a program must be designed to last at least three months; make every effort to set apart the treatment population from the general population; focus on the substance abuse problems of the offender; develop the prisoners cognitive, behavioral, social, vocational, and other skills as to solve the inmates substance abuse and related problems; and be science-based and effective.
- Treatment after-release provides substance abuse treatment, for up to one year, to parolees after incarceration. The program must focus on the substance abuse problems of the offender and must develop the inmate's cognitive, behavioral, social, vocational, and other skills as to solve the substance abuse and related problems.
Each component must provide urinalysis and/or other certified forms of drug and alcohol testing of individual participants during their participation in the program.
The goal of the program is to develop one underlying, evidence-based treatment model that will strengthen the program by providing uniform treatment for all participants and provide staff with specific curriculum training to ensure familiarity with the treatment selected. Also, the program should focus on providing coordinated services for offender after-release treatment and re-entry to the community.
The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) distributes Fill the Gap (FTG) funding to county attorneys and indigent defense agencies in all 15 counties. Laws 1999, Chapter 346 established the State Aid to County Attorneys Fund and the State Aid to Indigent Defense Fund (also known as Fill the Gap (FTG) funding) and provided an additional penalty assessment of 7% on every fine, penalty, and forfeiture imposed by the courts for criminal offenses, civil penalties, traffic violations and violations of Game and Fish laws. The legislative intent of the law was “that monies provided for county attorneys, the attorney general, indigent defense and courts pursuant to this act shall be used to improve the processing of criminal cases, so that progress can be made toward processing ninety percent of the criminal cases within one hundred days and ninety-nine percent of the criminal cases within one hundred eighty days. The legislature further intends that the criminal justice system, including the courts, prosecutors and indigent defense, in cooperation with the county board of supervisors in each county, shall continue to emphasize the enforcement of court orders and associated fees, fines, penalties, forfeitures, assessments and sanctions paid to the courts. This collaborative effort is expected to result in a minimum five per cent increase in collections and associated revenues from fiscal year 1999-2000 to fiscal year 2000-2001 and each year thereafter.”
These monies are distributed by ACJC to each county based on a composite index formula computed from the county’s current population and a three-year average of cases filed in each respective county’s superior court (A.R.S. 41-2409). ACJC is also required to report, by January 8th of each year, to each County Board of Supervisors, the Governor, the Legislature, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General on the expenditure of the monies in the State Aid to County Attorneys Fund and State Aid to Indigent Defense Fund for the prior fiscal year and on the progress made in achieving the goal of improved criminal case processing.