Notes are presented on the meeting of a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Working Group on the Right to Counsel and Indigent Defense.
The history of NIJ's funding of research on indigent defense was first reviewed, with a brief description of each research project. The features of other Federal initiatives on indigent defense were also reviewed. NIJ's goals related to indigent defense are to increase the research on indigent defense services, policies, and practices; improve the understanding of issues associated with the availability of indigent defense services; and develop practical and useful tools to improve the quality of indigent defense. In order to guide the development of a comprehensive research agenda, the current meeting had four goals. One goal was to discuss what is known in four topic areas: juveniles' access to counsel, barriers to counsel for adults, use of data and operational research, and profile assigned counsel and panel attorney systems. A second goal of the meeting was to identify current gaps in the research; and a third goal was to identify future actionable research questions. The final goal was to begin steps to craft a research agenda. Meeting discussions, conclusions, and recommendations on each of these topics are presented in this report.
Date Published: March 1, 2015