750 Administration of Justice:Eliminate Grants within the Office of Justice Programs

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2016-2020
  • 2016-2025


Savings are expressed as budget authority as reported on pages 230–231 of “Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Table 29-1. Federal Programs by Agency and Account”. Budget authority is not provided for 2025, but is assumed to increase at the same rate as the geometric mean of the previous nine years.


Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.


Heritage Recommendation:

Eliminate state and local grants administered by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). This proposal saves $1.4 billion in 2016, and $15.1 billion over 10 years.


Ending grants at the Office of Justice Programs gives power back to state & local officials.

The majority of the programs under the OJP umbrella deal with problems or functions that lie within the jurisdiction of state and local governments and should therefore be handled by state and local officials. Grants from the OJP are given to state and local governments for many criminal justice purposes, including local police officer salaries, state corrections, court programs, and juvenile justice programs.

To address criminal activity appropriately, the national government should limit itself to handling tasks that state and local governments cannot perform by themselves. The tendency to search for a solution at the national level is misguided and problematic. For example, juvenile delinquents and criminal gangs are a problem common to all states, but the crimes that they commit are almost entirely and inherently local in nature and regulated by state criminal law, law enforcement, and courts. The fact that thefts by juveniles occur in all states does not mean that these thefts are a problem requiring action by the national government.

State and local officials, not the federal government, are responsible for funding the state and local criminal justice programs. OJP subsidizes the routine, day-to-day functions of state and local criminal justice programs. When Congress subsidizes routine state and local criminal justice programs in this manner, it effectively reassigns to the federal government the powers and responsibilities that fall squarely within the expertise, historical control, and constitutional authority of state and local governments. The responsibility to combat ordinary crime at the local level belongs wholly, if not exclusively, to state and local governments.

Ending grants at the Office of Justice Programs gives power back to state & local officials.

Contributing Expert

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. is a leading expert on criminal justice programs in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis. A Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at the think tank, Muhlhausen has testified frequently before Congress on the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement grants administered by the U.S. Justice Department.

See publications by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis

Heritage Expert

Hans A. von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues – including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform -- as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

See publications by Hans A. von Spakovsky

Hans A. von SpakovskyManager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow

Additional Reading