(HARTFORD, CT (STL.News) Governor Ned Lamont is applauding the announcement today that the Biden-Harris administration is rescinding an unlawful immigration policy imposed during the prior administration that resulted in the blocking of criminal justice funds from the federal government to several states, including Connecticut, between 2017 and 2020. The decision will be applied retroactively, enabling Connecticut to collect $6.4 million in Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program funds.
The governor specifically thanked Attorney General William Tong for his leadership fighting the policy on behalf of Connecticut.
“I thank Attorney General Tong for his hard-fought victory with six other states to restore Connecticut’s access to Byrne JAG funds,” Governor Lamont said. “I am grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for ending this unlawful immigration-related condition that has been punishing to plaintiff states over the last four years. Connecticut is expected to accept $6.4 million in funding, which had been set aside during the litigation period, to address critical public-safety needs and pioneer new evidence-based strategies in communities across our state.
“I am charging my administration with developing bold, innovative plans to use these restored funds to help write the next chapter of data-driven criminal justice policy and practice in Connecticut. Specifically, I am establishing priorities that include achieving safer, healthier outcomes for our at-risk youth and reducing gun violence in communities to save lives and address trauma.”
Although the Byrne JAG program is recognized for the formula grants that reach local law enforcement for crime-reduction efforts, most of the funding Connecticut receives is administered on a discretionary basis for broader criminal justice priorities at the state and local level. For example, previously accepted funding helped launch a nationally recognized program at York Correctional Institution (the W.O.R.T.H. Unit) to prepare young adult women for brighter futures. It also helped deliver opioid use disorder treatment for people in the criminal justice system. This initiative led to the opioid treatment program in place today across several correctional facilities in Connecticut.
“Byrne JAG supports local law enforcement crime-reduction strategies, but Connecticut depends on this federal funding for a broader array of state and local needs,” Marc Pelka, undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning at the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, said. “The funding will help fill service gaps, spur innovation, and launch new initiatives to help cut crime, reduce recidivism, and save lives. The impact of this restored funding, following a painful, four-year period that has harmed state and local public-safety efforts, cannot be overstated. I look forward to helping carry out Governor Lamont’s vision for how these funds will make a meaningful difference. The Office of Policy and Management, which administers Byrne JAG, is diligently working with other states, state and federal partners, and stakeholders to prepare to accept the funding and launch planning efforts.”