SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced nearly $12.5 million in federal funding for programs to help fight the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs, prosecute drug offenders, provide victims assistance, and support other state, county and local programs to enhance public safety throughout Illinois.
“Illegal drugs destroy lives and endanger communities. One of our most important responsibilities is to protect the public – and illegal drugs pose one of the biggest threats to public safety. These federal grants will help law enforcement and prosecutors keep up the fight against illegal drugs,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
The funding will go to county, state and local agencies that provide services within the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program guidelines -- services in the areas of law enforcement, prosecution, crime prevention and education, corrections, drug treatment programs, program planning and evaluation, and criminal justice technology improvement. The award was a $4 million increase over the federal fiscal year 2006 amount received by the state.
Initiated in 2005 to combine Anti-Drug Abuse Act and Local Law Enforcement Block Grant funding, JAG programs emphasize supporting task forces to conduct undercover operations, fight meth manufacturers and distributors, and prosecute drug offenders. Task forces supported by JAG will create specific, local strategies to address drug problems facing the county or counties they serve, as meth production and distribution remains a major focus for task forces in Central and Southern Illinois. In addition, funding will be targeted to narcotics-related prosecutions conducted by eight specialized prosecution units across the state.
Illinois’ 2006 JAG award supported 28 multi-jurisdictional narcotics task forces and narcotics prosecution units in 64 Illinois counties.
“With this award, we can continue to fund successful anti-drug strategies,” said Authority Executive Director Lori G. Levin. “These initiatives have a long history of effectiveness in communities throughout Illinois.”
Nearly $1.1 million of the year’s federal award will be used to continue support of court advocacy and compensation programs in Cook County for juvenile and elderly victims, victims with disabilities, Spanish- and Polish-speaking victims, victims of traffic crimes, and family members of homicide victims.
Federal JAG grants may be used for state and local initiatives in the areas of law enforcement, prosecution, crime prevention and education, corrections, drug treatment programs, program planning and evaluation, and criminal justice technology improvement.
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) is the state agency designated by the Governor to administer Justice Assistance Grant funds awarded to Illinois by the U.S. Department of Justice.