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Tech woes will delay around $3 bln in U.S. Justice Dept grants -documents

WASHINGTON — Technological glitches will cause the U.S. Justice Department to be late in paying out around $3 billion in grants that fund programs such as victims services and criminal justice research, according to internal documents seen by Reuters.

The problems with the grant management system known as JustGrants https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-47-billion-grant-programs-tech-woes-take-toll-justice-groups-2021-07-12 are delaying more than half of the criminal justice grants to municipalities, states, research institutions and nonprofits that the department would normally award by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The documents reveal ongoing woes in the administration of its $4.7 billion grant program first reported by Reuters in July that led the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, to call for a probe https://www.reuters.com/world/us/top-us-senator-demands-inquiry-into-justice-dept-grants-system-2021-07-21 of the program. The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, later said his office would audit https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-justice-dept-watchdog-launches-audit-into-troubled-grants-system-2021-08-04 the $115 million contract with General Dynamics Corp to build JustGrants.

The Justice Department said in internal planning records that it will be forced to give out the money on a rolling basis, and will only aim to award about $1.4 billion by Sept. 30. The bulk of that money entails grants designated to help victims of crime.

Another roughly $560 million will be awarded by Oct. 31 and the rest of the funds, more than $2.5 billion, are targeted to be awarded by Dec. 31, according to the draft documents.

The internal planning documents are still in the draft stage, and the total amounts could still change.

“We deeply regret that there may be delays and understand how important it is to get all grant awards processed as quickly as possible,” wrote Amy Solomon, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs, in a notice sent to staff after Reuters reported on the delays.

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