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Issues in Criminal Justice: Tennessee’s Crime Initiatives

December 29, 2014

Tennessee's crime initiatives

Tennessee’s commitment to public safety makes it a great place for you to pursue a degree program in criminal justice. The Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs (OCJP) has several initiatives in place to meet the law enforcement and social justice needs of communities. The OCJP manages a system that identifies problems within the criminal justice system, determines the needs of communities, allocates grants and more. It monitors trends, assesses state resources and measures the performance of funded programs.

We’ve profiled some of these programs to highlight both issues in criminal justice and the ways criminal justice is at work in Tennessee.

  • Hot Spots Policing: There is a lot of data to support the fact that crime is likely to occur in areas with high levels of disorder, both social and physical. Tennessee law enforcement combats this by improving order in problem areas, with the result of lower crime rates overall. The program focuses specifically on the reduction of nuisance crime, in combination with targeting specific high-crime areas.
  • Positive Action: This program is focused on Tennessee youth. It works to improve academics, behavior and character in young people by increasing positive behaviors and decreasing negative ones. Positive Action does this through a curriculum-based approach that relies on teaching skills focused on learning and motivation to achieve success.
  • Specialized Multi-Agency Response Team (SMART): This initiative is focused on unified community action. Once an area of high crime has been identified, police spend time on-site to meet with stakeholders and establish working relationships. The combination of law enforcement, community representatives and business owners can better foster crime prevention and problem-solving tactics by working together.
  • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA): This program provides grants for services that directly improve the health and well-being of crime victims. It gives priority to victims of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and previously underserved victims. According to OCJP data, during the 2014 fiscal year, 81 victim services agencies received VOCA grants.
  • STOP Violence Against Women: These grants promote a multidisciplinary, coordinated approach to improving the criminal justice system’s response to violence against women. During the 2014 fiscal year, 34 victim services agencies received STOP grants.
  • Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA): The OCJP uses both state and federal funds to provide shelter and services to victims of family violence and their dependents. Funded shelter services are provided 24/7 through this program. Services include access to a crisis hotline, community referrals, counseling, advocacy, transportation, follow-up services and community education. In the 2014 fiscal year, 30 domestic violence shelter programs received FVPSA grants.
  • Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP): Federal and state funds go toward these grants, which provide nonprofit sexual assault centers and dual agencies with needed resources. It aims to meet the needs of primary and secondary victims of sexual assault. During the 2014 fiscal year, 12 nonprofit sexual assault centers and dual agencies received SASP grants.
  • Methamphetamine Initiative (METH): This state funded program addresses the negative impact of methamphetamine use and production in Tennessee. In terms of funding, child advocacy programs that provide services to drug-endangered children and their non-offending caregivers receive priority. In the 2014 fiscal year, 12 child advocacy centers received METH grants.
  • Victim Assistance Academy: The purpose of this program, which was created by Senator Tommy Burks, is to improve services to all types of crime victims by providing a comprehensive training curriculum to victim service providers and allied professionals. The weeklong academy offers topic areas specific to Tennessee but is modeled after the National Victim Assistance Academy. The state makes an annual appropriation of $100,000 toward the planning and coordination of the training event.

Criminal Justice at King University

If you are interested in making a difference and learning how to make changes for the better in terms of crime, earning a degree in criminal justice is a great way to get started.

All of these initiatives highlight how Tennessee is taking real steps to address issues related to crime. If you are interested in making a difference and learning how to make changes for the better in terms of crime, earning a degree in criminal justice is a great way to get started. King University’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice prepares you for challenging, rewarding careers in law enforcement, corrections and the courts.

You will develop your skills related to restorative justice, strategic thinking, criminal procedure, research, law and more. No matter what your specific career goals are, a solid background in criminal justice education will help you get there. Learn more about King University’s online criminal justice degree program and get started today.