Virginia receives over $6 million in federal funding to support criminal justice programs amid pandemic


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a question during a press briefing inside the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Va., Thursday, June 11, 2020. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced today that the Commonwealth has been approved to receive $6 million in federal funding from the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program. According to a press release from the governor’s office, grants were awarded to 171 localities, nonprofit organizations and state agencies in Virginia.

“The COVID-19 crisis continues to create tremendous challenges in all areas of our society, and our criminal justice system is no different,” Northam said. “Our public safety professionals are the front lines of this pandemic, and we must ensure they have the resources they need to perform their duties and provide critical services to Virginians who need them most.

CESF grants are part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security Act, they are specifically used to assist in their ongoing mitigation and response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These grants will help state and local agencies and community organizations across the Commonwealth function as effectively as possible as we continue battling this virus,” Northam said.

The release states that the funding will be used towards the purchase of video technology to conduct remote hearings, laptops to enable more employees to telework and additional support for community supervision as more individuals are being diverted away from incarceration. Funding will also be used to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by equipping workers personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and screening equipment.

The funding from the CESF will be released in waves. According to the release, the $6 million constitutes 56% of the overall funding awarded to the state. The Department of Criminal Justice Services anticipates distributing the rest within the next nine months.

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