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Justice Programs Office

We advance a people-focused justice system through a collaborative approach that is grounded in research and innovation because everyone deserves equality and justice.

Federal Pass-Through Funds Available to State & Local Courts Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic

Grants Matrix

Justice in Government Project director, Karen Lash, recently spoke with Danielle Hirsch and Zach Zarnow of the National Center for State Courts about federal pass-through funds available to state and local courts navigating the COVID-19 crisis. Their discussion highlights a new Grants Matrix of curated state-administered federal funds (including block, formula, and open-ended reimbursement grants) that can support court technology innovations that are especially important during COVID-19, such as teleconferencing for remote hearings, document assembly tools, or self-help websites. Lash also walks through the first steps of the funding application process and gives helpful tips to consider when pursuing these opportunities. Watch the Tiny Chat here

Human Trafficking Survivors Webinar 

Human Trafficking Webinar Speakers

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. View the webinar here.

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.

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. 

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. 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.

Man sitting on sofa

Can Treatment Courts Serve Those Convicted of Crimes Of Violence?

The COVID-19 pandemic is, to date, responsible for over  91,000 US fatalities and levels of unemployment not seen since the great depression. National Social Distancing Guidelines and State Stay-At-Orders in nearly all 50 states have upended many social norms and have led to deserted streets, empty shopping malls, empty schools and college campuses, and entire companies working from home.

However, one system where the need for social distancing, large scale testing, and enhanced medical care have been largely ignored is the justice system where the dangerous conditions in prisons and jails has led to uncontained outbreaksin several facilities. Some prisons and jails have released people in attempt to allow for social distancing, but those released have primarily been those convicted of non-violent crimes.

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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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