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Justice Programs Office

The Justice Programs Office supports SPA's mission of applying the tools of scholarship and professionalism to the design and management of public programs in law and criminal justice.



March 18, 2018, marks the 55th anniversary of Gideon vs. Wainwright, the landmark, unanimous 1963 Supreme Court decision requiring states to provide defense attorneys to people accused of crimes who cannot afford to pay a private attorney. Fifty-five years after Gideon, with more than two million people incarcerated in the United States, many of whom are indigent, public defense providers are more critical than ever. Despite significant victories by the Right to Counsel (R2C) National Campaign and its partners, the Supreme Court's mandate of effective representation for every accused person whose liberty is at stake is largely unfunded and unrealized.  

This month, JPO is joining R2C in commemorating #GideonAt55. You'll find posts about the anniversary and what Gideon means today throughout the month on our blog. We'll also be sharing events, articles, and other activities happening across the country on Facebook and Twitter. And on Tuesday, March 20, from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM we are holding a webinar on the Face of Gideon. JPO Senior Policy Counsel and former public defender Zoë Root will moderate a candid conversation between public defenders and clients to explore how the Gideon decision shapes the criminal justice experiences of accused people and the advocates who defend them.

If you are active online, join the conversation by following #GideonAt55 on Facebook and Twitter, and share what the #right2counsel means to you.

Justice for All Reauthorization Act and Supporting Public Defense

Were you able to join JPO and the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) for our joint webinar examining how requirements associated with Byrne JAG grants have changed since the passing of the Justice for All Reauthorization Act (JFAA) of 2016 and how this creates an opportunity for state administering agencies (SAAs) and public defense providers to collaborate? 

If not, you still can. The webinar is now available on our YouTube page. Hear members of the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission, Michigan State Police, NCJA, and JPO discuss the obstacles overcome by the Michigan SAAs and public defenders to achieve an effective and collaborative relationship.

Watch the webinar

JPO Blog

Lead Like A Woman

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership over the past year—are leaders born or made? What’s the best way to grow as a leader? How can I inspire my team and guide JPO to new and greater successes? With it being Women’s History Month, my thoughts have also turned to what it means to me as a woman to be a leader and how can I best use the lessons I’ve learned as a woman working in male-dominated fields to mentor the women on my staff.

Read more

Share Your Story graphic

We want to share your story! Our NDCRC podcast, On the Docket, is looking at how treatment courts are handling the #OpioidCrisis. See how you can share your experiences by checking out our latest newsletter.

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Veterans' Justice and Mental Health Newsletter

JPO's NDCRC has a new monthly newsletter focused on resources related to behavioral health, mental health, and criminal justice issues faced by veterans and military personnel.