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Justice Programs Office

Criminal Courts Technical Assistance Project

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The Bureau of Justice Assistance-funded Criminal Courts Technical Assistance Project (CCTAP) has offered a wide range of free and cost-share services to criminal courts and related judicial system agencies. The CCTAP services have been provided by senior judicial system practitioners and related professionals and include:

  • On-site consultation by senior practitioners
  • Workshops for judges and court and justice agency personnel
  • Peer-to-peer visits to courts/justice agencies with promising practices
  • Office-based assistance, including off-site review of documents/plans by consultants and staff and dissemination of publications

Technical assistance services could be requested by letter or fax to Caroline Cooper at the CCTAP project office at American University (see contact information below). The letter should be signed or endorsed by the chief judge or agency head, describe the services requested and the needs generating the technical assistance request. Summary background information relevant to the technical assistance requested, including any prior studies undertaken, should also be included. Within five days of receipt of the request, project staff will then contact the requestor to discuss the request in more detail, obtain additional information, if needed, and plan for service delivery. If on-site services are indicated, they will be designed and scheduled in collaboration with the requesting official.

Recipients of on-site services were required to: (1) designate a local coordinator who will work with the CCTAP to develop the site agenda and serve as the point of contact for the site study; and (2) participate in the CCTAP’s evaluation and follow-up activities after submission of the technical assistance report and provide information on recommendation implementation and developments subsequent to the technical assistance services.

Representative areas for CCTAP Assistance included:

  • Caseflow management reviews, including scheduling practices
  • Criminal differentiated case management (DCM) processes (for general case processing and/or problem solving dockets)
  • Pretrial services
  • Jail overcrowding
  • Prosecution office management
  • Indigent defense services delivery
  • Handling juveniles in adult court
  • Court facility planning and renovation
  • Operational and management reviews of courts and justice system agencies and departments
  • COOP (continuity of operations planning) and pandemic/public health emergency preparedness
  • Interagency Coordination
  • Justice system-community relations
  • Special focus/problem-solving courts

Special Caseflow Management Initiative

During 2010-2011, a special initiative was conducted to provide state and local courts with technical assistance to develop caseflow management improvement programs designed to reduce case processing delay and promote more efficient use of judicial resources. Special emphasis was given to:

  • Developing and/or expanding Differentiated Case Management (DCM) systems
  • Improving certainty/credibility of case scheduling systems
  • Improving the appointment/delivery processes for counsel for indigent defendants
  • Developing special strategies to focus court process on cases involving pretrial detainees

Special Initiative to Promote Tribal-State Judicial Coordination

This project was a special initiative to promote increased coordination among tribal and state courts regarding issues of mutual concern. Assistance was provided to the New Mexico Tribal-State Judicial Consortium of the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts to support regional meetings of tribal-state judicial system officials. Project services were available to other Tribal and state courts interested in undertaking similar efforts.

Special Initiative to Promote COOP (Continuity of Operations) Planning

The CCTAP services included a special initiative to promote COOP (Continuity of Operations Planning) for courts in conjunction with the other justice agencies on which they depend. The CCTAP’s COOP planning services addressed the range of emergency situations that may have required activation of a COOP plan, including those caused by natural disasters, fires, and public health epidemics. It provided a foundation for court planning in this area, Planning for Emergencies: Immediate Events and Their Aftermath: A Guideline for Local Courts, a Template for Assessing the Adequacy of COOP Planning in Local Courts; and Guidelines for Pandemic Emergency Preparedness Planning: A Road Map for Courts, produced by an eight-member, multidisciplinary Task Force representing expertise in the areas of judicial processes, public health administration, law enforcement, and judicial system-public health system coordination. The "Road Map" was published by BJA in March 2007. More Info

As a corollary to the Road Map, AU has developed a multi-media presentation on pandemic emergency preparedness based on the Guide and incorporating materials prepared by various contributors to the BJA-sponsored Symposium on Justice System Preparedness for Pandemic Emergencies, held in Chicago in May 2006. This training package was designed for distribution to Judicial Education offices in each of the state court systems and to State Administrative Agencies for use in their respective in-state training activities.

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Project Contacts
Kim Ball
Bureau of Justice Assistance
202.307.2076
kim.ball@usdoj.gov