The Justice Programs Office (JPO), a center in the School of Public Affairs at American University, works with the justice community to improve justice policies and practices.
We are dedicated to a fair and equitable justice system for all. We support criminal justice reform, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, treatment courts, and holistic interventions and innovative solutions to help people whose lives have been impacted by the criminal and civil legal systems.
Our programs address systemic challenges related to policy, program effectiveness, communications, and operations. We use translational research, innovative solutions, and collaboration to advance a fairer, more effective, and equitable justice system that promotes human dignity and respect.
Our work has led to fairer and more effective justice systems through the development and provision of evidence-based practices, program evaluation, training and technical assistance, and capacity-building.
We engage with academics, justice system actors and practitioners, justice experts, public policy experts, nonprofit organizations, government policymakers, communities, and returning citizens. We work to improve outcomes for individuals, find solutions to break the cycle of justice involvement, and to restore a sense of dignity to individuals, families, and communities.
JPO has provided expertise to the justice community for nearly 30 years. Our work has led to fairer and more effective justice systems through the provision of training and technical assistance, the development and dissemination of research, the advancement of evidence-based policies, and practices to government agencies and organizations throughout the US and internationally. Our projects have addressed policy, program, resource, and operational issues relating to the administration of justice, coordination of public programs, and the delivery of justice systems and associated public health, social, and related services. Our services include:
Short- and long-term technical assistance to government and community agencies.
Training and other professional development services.
Evaluation of public programs.
On-site problem analysis/assessment.
Documentation of existing program policies, resources, and procedures
Promotion of use/adaption of nationally/internationally accepted standards of performance and practice.
Our staff and consultants have deep experience working for and with local, state, and federal justice agencies. JPO has managed and effectively conducted complex training and technical assistance projects since 1994. These include but are not limited to site-based technical assistance to drug courts, the BJA Criminal Courts training and technical assistance project, and technical assistance for state administering agencies.
JPO is unique in the justice policy space in that we can leverage the resources of American University (AU), a private doctoral institution with a commitment to research and public service. The School of Public Affairs continues to tackle complex issues with thoughtful research that educates, informs, and promotes change across a multitude of fields, and is committed to JPO’s success as a way to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners. The distinguished faculty of AU includes nationally recognized and honored scholars and experts. JPO draws on both faculty and staff to bring their enthusiasm, knowledge, and the tools of unbiased empirical research to bear on the tough criminal justice questions facing policymakers today.
JPO has access to all the unique domestic and international information resources in the Washington, DC, area and the on-campus and off-campus training, research, information, computer, and distance learning facilities of American University.
We partner with external stakeholders to share research, identify solutions for policy and best practice, and to amplify issues and raise awareness. Our national partnerships are formalized alliances which may include a written agreement.
The Justice Programs Office (JPO) maintains collaborative relationships with most US based national and international organizations and associations representing the legal, law enforcement, corrections, prosecution, defense services, and judicial professions. All JPO projects are undertaken with reference to relevant ethical standards of performance and best practices.