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Justice Programs Office

The Justice Programs Office uses translational research, innovative solutions, and collaboration to advance an equitable justice system that promotes human dignity and respect.

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

Second Chance Month

April is Second Chance Month, a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. This Second Chance month, follow JPO (@AU_JPO) and the Right to Counsel National Campaign (@right2counsel) on Twitter and Facebook using the #SecondChanceMonth hashtag for news and information to benefit returning citizens along with specifics related to the novel COVID-19 pandemic, as more individuals will be returning home this April. Thousands of formerly incarcerated persons, who have paid their debt to society, will be returning to families and communities amid the coronavirus pandemic. During this uncertain time, they will need resources and access to information more than ever. Follow along and share.

Human Trafficking Survivors Webinar 

Speakers Human Trafficking Webinar

Our Maximizing OVC’s Survivor Assistance in Court Settings (MOSAICS)team hosted Criminal Courts and Service Providers: Building Relationships to Serve Survivors of Human Trafficking, a webinar focused on cross-system partnerships between legal system actors and social service providers to better meet the needs of human trafficking survivors facing criminal charges.

Monica Arenas, Marissa MacTurk, and Judge John J. Romero, Jr. shared lessons learned from their professional experiences working within court-community partnerships and collaborative multidisciplinary task forces with more than 100 participants.

"Building a relationship between a court and a social service organization is usually not a seamless or organic process, and it is often quite challenging. Building this type of relationship involves very intentional trust building and thoughtful conversations about roles and responsibilities," said Zoe Root, MOSAICS Lead Attorney.

New Drug Court Review Journal Available

Drug Court Review Winter 2019 Rural Treatment Court Programs

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. Read the Journal

Paper Explores the "Right to Counsel" Tension

Enhancing Caseflow Management to Ensure Effective Assistance of Counsel

In partnership with the National Association for Court Management and with support from the State Justice Institute, the Justice Programs Office white paper Enhancing Caseflow Management to Ensure Effective Assistance of Counsel 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 paper posits that these interests need not be in competition but rather be in balance to ensure a fair and just criminal adjudication system.  Read the white paper

Exciting New Partnership with Verizon

Verizon emblem

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.

Just Thoughts blog

Women Helped Shape Public Defense — and Now Need it More Than Ever

March is Women’s History Month and March 18th is Gideon’s Day, the 57th anniversary of the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright that solidified the right to counsel for individuals whose liberty is at stake and who cannot afford an attorney. 

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Listen to Our Podcasts

Listen to our 3-part podcast series, Color in the Court: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Treatment Courts.


police officer, lawyer with prisoner, judge

Achievements ·

New Justice Report Recommends Accelerating the Pace of Reform

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Announcement ·

AU’s Justice Programs Office Launches Racial and Ethnic Disparities Assessment Tool for Courts

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