Recovery Act Funds: Justice Projects in Alaska

Recovery Act Funds: Justice Projects in Alaska

"Recovery Act Funds: Justice Projects in Alaska" by Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage. Alaska Justice Forum 27(1): 4-5 (Spring 2010). A projected $1.6 billion in stimulus funds under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has been allocated for over 1,000 projects in Alaska. Included in the stimulus package for Alaska are funds administered by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) totaling $18,906,593 for 39 justice-related projects in 22 rural and urban communities statewide through grants to state agencies; Alaska Native tribes, villages, and councils; municipalities; and nonprofits.

Recovery Act funds awarded by federal agencies have been flowing into Alaska. A little over a year after the February 2009 signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Alaska has been allocated a projected $1.6 billion dollars for over 1,000 projects funded by 24 federal agencies. Included in the stimulus package for Alaska are funds administered by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) totaling $18,906,593.00 for 39 justice-related projects in 22 rural and urban communities statewide (Figure 1).

The data in this article are based on Department of Justice figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as of February 11, 2010. The FBI is the agency responsible for investigating charges of fraud, waste, or abuse involving ARRA funds and has the most detailed list of Alaska projects. ARRA figures are updated regularly at www.recovery.gov.

The stimulus money is awarded in the form of grants, contracts, and loans, and recipients are required to report quarterly on how the money is being spent. All awards in Alaska as of February 11, 2010 have been grants. DOJ has awarded funds in response to grant applications from state agencies; Native tribes, villages, and councils; municipalities; and nonprofits (Table 1). ARRA funds through DOJ have been designated for a range of projects such as purchasing police surveillance, finger printing, computer, and communications equipment; training law enforcement personnel and providers of services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; hiring law enforcement personnel (state troopers, local police, school resource officers); and constructing facilities, including a multi-purpose justice center in a rural community. A number of these projects are funded under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). Providing resources and services to crime victims, including victims of domestic violence and sexual assault (DV/SA), is one focus of VOCA funding. Employment training for DV/SA victims as well as transitional housing for domestic violence victims is planned for a rural community. Hiring and training personnel to provide direct services to DV/SA victims statewide is also being funded.

The majority of the projects are intended for completion within two years; as of February 2010, most projects were less than 50 percent complete, and 11 had not yet been started.

Note: The FBI requests that individuals report suspected abuse, fraud or waste related to ARRA funds to 907-276-4441/ anchoragefbi@ak.net, or to the FBI Alaska website http://anchorage.fbi.gov/.