About JPO

The Justice Programs Office (JPO) of the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University was established in 1989 to carry out the SPA's mission to apply the tools of scholarship and professionalism to the design, management and evaluation of public programs. Since its establishment, the JPO has been providing technical assistance, research, training, policy development and program evaluation services to government agencies and organizations throughout the U.S. and internationally to promote the application of relevant research findings and professional standards to the operation of justice system and related agencies. Projects address policy, program, resource, and operational issues relating to the administration of justice, coordination of public programs, and the delivery of justice system and associated public health, social and related services.

Mission & Services

The mission of the Justice Programs Office (JPO) is to use translational research, innovative solutions, and collaboration to advance an equitable justice system that promotes human dignity and respect. To carry out this mission, the JPO engages in training, technical assistance, and research and provides information and publication dissemination services to government officials and the public at large.

All of the JPO's activities are designed to strengthen awareness of:

  • public accountability of government agencies and officials
  • the ethical responsibilities and standards of performance of government employees
  • the obligation of citizens for responsible critique and constructive reform of public institutions
  • the cultural and historical foundations of the role of courts in a democratic society

In carrying out its mission, the JPO - its faculty, staff, senior fellows, wand consultants - are pledged to exemplify the values of competence, integrity, and objectivity as representatives of American University and of the agencies and organizations it serves.


The SPA Justice Programs Office has a core interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff and Senior Fellows, augmented by senior practitioner-experts from throughout the U.S. who serve in a consultant capacity. This cadre is supplemented by American University faculty in the fields of law, public affairs, international service, economics, business administration, and the social and behavioral sciences. The Justice Programs Office has access to all the unique domestic and international information resources in the Washington, D.C. area and the on-campus and off-campus training, research, information, computer, telecommunications, and distance learning facilities of American University.


  • Multi-disciplinary approach to all undertakings
  • Promotion of interagency communication and coordination
  • Institutional independence and objectivity in problem analysis
  • Incorporation of the most qualified academic and practitioner expertise for each project
  • Extensive experience in and familiarity with state and local justice system operations
  • Emphasis on cost-effective, pragmatic solutions to problems


  • short- and long-term technical assistance to government and community agencies
  • development of collaborative, interagency justice system improvement programs
  • 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 standard of performance and practice.


The Justice Programs Office maintains collaborative relationships with most U.S. 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.