This video and its transcript cover presentations by Maha Jweied, senior counsel for the Access to Justice Initiative, and Nadine Frederique, Social Science Analyst for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), on the U.S Department of Justice's (DOJ's) solicitation for research on indigent defense.
The DOJ is interested in indigent defense because of a commitment by the current Attorney General and the current administration. The associated Access to Justice Initiative was formed a few years ago to address the crisis in access to justice for all Americans regardless of wealth or status.. The focus of the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the DOJ, is on access to defense services for both adults and juveniles at each critical stage of criminal justice processing. The presenters note that there has been little research on issues of access to legal services for the indigent, because this is a complicated, multifaceted issue that encompasses policy, the resources of defender offices, staff management, and training. The research being promoted by NIJ through its funding solicitations will engage social scientists and various stakeholders in research that will collect data to determine some of the barriers to the delivery of defense services to indigent defendants and what works in delivering indigent defense services. NIJ anticipates that the findings of the funded research will identify the next steps needed to improve access to justice for indigent defendants.
Date Published: March 1, 2012