NIJ Journal Issue: 268 Dated: October 2011 Pages: 36-39
This article, Indigent Defense: International Perspectives and Research Needs, presents an overview of promising international programs and research that could assist in improving indigent defense in the United States.
This article presents an overview of promising international programs and research that could assist in improving indigent defense in the United States. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), funding for indigent defense services in the United States is shamefully inadequate, lacks fundamental fairness, and places poor individuals at constant risk for wrongful convictions. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice launched the Access to Justice Initiative to improve access to justice for all Americans, regardless of their means. In January 2011, a 2-day workshop was held to identify domestic and international best practices for representing low-income defendants. In addition, a research agenda was developed to examine the problem of criminal indigent defense in the United States. The research priorities identified at the workshop include: studying the cost of implementing national indigent defense standards and the cost savings resulting from the program; examining how competition between the private bar and paralegals might improve the provision of indigent defense services; looking at systems of partnerships between tribal and Federal systems; and examining the cost effectiveness of providing counsel to juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system.
Date Published: October 1, 2011