The Justice Programs Office uses translational research, innovative solutions, and collaboration to advance an equitable justice system that promotes human dignity and respect.
The third issue of JPO’s Drug Court Review academic journal is now available. The issue focuses on the unique challenges faced by problem-solving courts in rural areas, such as operating in remote areas with limited resources and tackling increases in substance use and mental health disorders.
The collection of articles in this third issue begins to address the challenges faced by problem-solving courts in rural areas and offers insights into research gaps, research methods and models, data analysis, and suggestions and recommendations for drug court innovations and improvements for the adult treatment court field. Historically, criminal justice research has been conducted on urban areas leaving a deficit of research data about rural communities and rural drug courts. In this edition, while clear differences were identified, a surprising amount of similarity in issues spanning the urban-rural divide were also shown.
Drug Court Review is a peer-reviewed academic journal that promotes research on issues relevant to the treatment court field. The journal seeks to inform practitioners and scholars alike about innovations in criminal justice practices, court operations, mental and behavioral health care, substance use disorder treatment, veterans' programs, and more.
In partnership with the National Association for Court Management and with support from the State Justice Institute, the Justice Programs Office released a white paper Enhancing Caseflow Management to Ensure Effective Assistance of Counsel which examines how US courts can maintain efficient resolution of criminal cases while ensuring defendants have effective assistance of counsel.
In a courtroom, competing interests may emerge for judges and court administrators as the fair administration of justice calls for the prompt resolution of cases while ensuring enough time to support effective assistance of counsel. If these competing interests are not adequately addressed, a tension may emerge known as the “right to counsel tension.”
The white paper posits that these interests need not be in competition but rather be in balance to ensure a fair and just criminal adjudication system. The paper explores how courts and court administrators can ensure a responsible balance between the need for an efficient resolution of criminal cases and adequate time, resources, and information to permit defense counsel to provide effective assistance.
Last year, stakeholders, including seven criminal judge-court administrator pairs from across the US and representatives from a multidisciplinary advisory board, convened to explore the “right to counsel tension” between enhancing caseflow management and ensuring effective assistance of counsel.
Our MOSAICS team recently hosted a webinar on the criminalization of human trafficking victims. MOSAICS Training and Advisory Board members, Kate Mogulescu and Dalia Racine, shared how survivors of sex and labor trafficking are charged with a range of crimes due to the circumstances of their trafficking. Dalia, a former prosecutor, encouraged prosecution stakeholders to view human trafficking victimhood and culpability on a nuanced spectrum. Kate, a former defense attorney, explained how defenders could engage stakeholders to ensure best outcomes for victims of trafficking, especially post-conviction. Importantly, they provided options for collaboration and creative sentencing to reduce the harmful effects of criminal court involvement.
Mogulescu said: “This is a pervasive and prevalent issue. It is not a fluke or a one off, it is happening across the country repeatedly and systemically.” If you missed the webinar, you can view the recording here.
JPO is excited to announce that we have engaged in a partnership to work with Verizon. Working collectively, JPO will analyze pending legislation to assess potential impacts on criminal justice policies and practices and ultimately on communities.
“We believe it is important for us to push for positive reforms and demonstrate that the business community is willing to engage and is supportive of correcting the problems plaguing our criminal justice system.” - Verizon’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Strategic Alliances, Donna Epps. Read the press announcement.
JPO’s Senior Policy Advisor, Genevieve Citrin Ray, moderated a panel discussion at America Working Forward: Hidden Workforce about second chance hiring, sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and The Sine Institute of Policy & Politics at American University. The event highlighted programs that offer returning citizens and individuals with a criminal record pathways to re-enter America’s workforce and training facilities. “We have a hidden workforce that needs to be empowered and not feel marginalized,” said Ernest Smith, returning citizen and business owner. Thank you to everyone that came out. Miss this event? Watch the video.
This #BlackHistoryMonth we recognize that Black Americans got the #righttovote 150 years ago, but voter suppression still a problem.— JPO at AU (@AU_JPO) February 13, 2020
"Things can be achieved and things can be taken away."
It is on all of us to remain vigilant and protect #VotingRightshttps://t.co/kZJyiraWP5