This video and its transcript cover the keynote address at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 2010 Conference, in which Laurence Tribe - senior counselor for the Access to Justice initiative - discusses the importance and features of research on indigent defense services in ensuring equal access to justice for all, regardless of financial resources.
Mr. Tribe heads the Access to Justice Initiative (AJI) created by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. He announces in this keynote address that the AJI will be working in collaboration with NIJ to issue a new grant solicitation in fiscal year 2011 for AJI-related research. This is guided by the belief that only holistic multidisciplinary research efforts are likely to be effective in closing the gap in access to justice for indigent defendants. The approach will be "person-centered" rather than problem-centered. Mr. Tribe suggests expanding NIJ research to include an examination of the comparative costs and benefits of some of the innovative diversion programs that the Office of Justice Programs supports, as well as the efficacy and savings achieved by prevention efforts, both in juvenile and adult systems. Public defenders are currently impaired by a lack of research that documents injustices due to weaknesses in public defense services. Further, there is insufficient research that documents the cost-effectiveness of having well-trained public defenders appointed early in case processing. Such research is necessary in promoting investments in evidence-based public- defender systems.
Date Published: June 1, 2010