JPO is delighted to welcome you to our blog. Check back weekly for insights from our staff on criminal justice issues of the day, our Friday roundup of the most relevant news articles from the past week, and updates on the latest happenings in our projects.
The Justice Programs Office uses translational research, innovative solutions, and collaboration to advance an equitable justice system that promotes human dignity and respect.
There is a pervasive stereotype that survivors of human trafficking are physically isolated from society, hidden in homes or businesses and rarely have meaningful contact with other people. While extreme physical isolation and restraint is certainly a feature of some human trafficking cases, it is not inclusive of all survivors’ experiences.
Survivors can walk through their communities while their exploiter controls their income, behavior, and will with threats, fraud, or false promises. So how do we identify survivors and provide them with the resources they need to remove themselves from their exploiters’ control? Criminal court systems can be a crucial point of contact between survivors and public society, as many survivors are arrested and prosecuted for crimes related to their trafficking. However, too often, courts fail to recognize survivors of human trafficking facing criminal charges as victims in need of support.
MOSAICS seeks to change that. MOSAICS, a JPO training and technical assistance project, will assist courts to better identify, understand, and meet the needs of survivors of both sex and labor trafficking. Applications to receive training are now open! Apply here.
The big idea behind The Justice in Government Project is to embed civil legal aid into state and local governments’ existing priorities, programs, and appropriations to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and fairness for low-and moderate-income people and communities. The Justice in Government Project’s Toolkit was developed to do just that. The Toolkit provides research on how legal aid can help states further their policy and programmatic goals, information about funding legal aid, and examples of successful partnerships and programs.
This Toolkit helps government policymakers, practitioners, grant administrators, legal profession leaders, social service providers, and legal aid or other advocates:
- Learn about the evidence base for using legal aid to further government policy and program goals;
- Identify sources of executive branch funding for legal aid; and
- Find examples of states that currently advance their policy priorities with already appropriated federal block and other public funds that allow spending on legal aid.
This season on the podcast Serial, host Sarah Koenig and reporter Emmanuel Dzotsi explore the criminal justice system by examining ordinary cases and they asked JPO for help. They spent a year at the Justice Center in Cleveland, Ohio, which they selected because it let them record everywhere — courtrooms, back hallways, judges’ chambers, prosecutors’ offices – and then follow those cases outside the building, into neighborhoods, into people’s houses, and into prison.
We watched how justice is calculated in cases of all sizes, from the smallest misdemeanor to the most serious felony. This season, we tell you the extraordinary stories of ordinary cases. One courthouse, week by week.
If you were not able to join the Justice Programs Office at American University and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in September for webinar about the role prosecutors play in ensuring the constitutional right to counsel, a recording is now available.
Watch now to hear from Marlene Biener, Deputy General Counsel at the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Justin Bingham, City Prosecutor of Spokane, Washington, and Genevieve Citrin Ray, Senior Policy Advisor and R2C Project Director at the Justice Programs Office at American University. Ms. Citrin Ray will also preview findings from a Right to Counsel (R2C) National Campaign roundtable that was held with prosecutors in December 2017 and focused on what prosecutors can do to ensure the right to counsel and effective public defense delivery systems.
Watch the Webinar
Issues within the justice system tend to disproportionally effect the least fortunate members of society. Similarly, the overuse of resources by business entities create environmental impacts that tend to disproportionally effect those same members of society. Therefore, the Justice Programs Office is committed to environmental stability. By participating in American University’s Green Office Program, we have a concrete set of goals to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our use of resources, and increase our recycling efforts. This is accomplished by working directly with American University’s Office of Sustainability and informing staff and students on sustainable office practices.
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Senior Policy Counsel Zoë Root published an article in Court Manager magazine about the state of public defense in the US, the Right to Counsel National Campaign, and how court managers can ensure the fair administration of justice.