The Justice Programs Office (JPO), a center in the School of Public Affairs at American University, uses translational research, innovative solutions, and collaboration to advance an equitable justice system that promotes human dignity and respect. Since 1989, we have worked to ensure the fair administration of justice in criminal and civil legal matters, focusing especially on issues related to drug misuse, juvenile crimes, military veterans, problem-solving courts, racial and ethnic disparities, criminal justice reform, and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
In carrying out our mission, JPO—our staff and consultants—are pledged to exemplify the values of competence, integrity, and objectivity as representatives of American University and of the agencies and organizations we serve.
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.
National Drug Court Resource, Policy and Evidence-Based Practice Center
We manage the nation’s leading resource for treatment court practitioners. This hub of tools and information to help drug courts run more effectively features a searchable online drug court map, sample operational forms, state legislation tracking, a podcast, opioid use disorder resources, and more.
Learn more at www.ndcrc.org.
Right to Counsel National Campaign
We lead a national awareness campaign to inform and engage policymakers, criminal justice stakeholders, and the public on the importance of meaningfully carrying out the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and the effective delivery of public defense services.
Learn more at http://www.rtcnationalcampaign.org.
Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts Training and Technical Assistance Initiative
As one of the leading federal training and technical assistance providers in the country, we work with juvenile drug treatment courts across the nation and help them apply evidenced-based practices in their programs to improve outcomes for the youth they serve.
The Justice in Government Project
We provide strategic guidance to state and local officials seeking to leverage civil legal aid to achieve their policy and programmatic goals and ensure the maximum benefit from dollars spent on low- and moderate-income people and communities.
Learn more at https://american.edu/spa/jpo/jgp.
The Justice Programs Office maintains collaborative relationships with most US based national 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.