Public Defense Reform Work Continues Despite Pandemic
Punishing The Poor
ABA SCLAID partnered with Arnold Ventures to produce the report "Punishing the Poor: An Assessment of the Administration of Fines and Fees in New Mexico Misdemeanor Courts." The report examines the fines and fees charged to indigent defendants facing low-level charges in New Mexico courts, and found that best practices, such as those found in the ABA Ten Guidelines on Court Fines and Fees, are routinely ignored. Many defendants are assessed fines that that they cannot afford, and are subsequently jailed for their inability to pay. This system can trap poor defendants in a cycle of fines and jail time that not only increases mass incarceration, but which interrupts employment and other life activities that would have allowed them to pay these fines in the first place.Read - Report
Ten Principles on Reducing Mass Incarceration
Adopted at the 2022 ABA Annual Meeting, the Ten Principles on Reducing Mass Incarceration articulate the critical steps necessary to help to combat the drivers of mass incarceration and ultimately reduce the number of people in jails and prisons nationwide.Read - Principles
The Oregon Project: An Analysis of the Oregon Public Defense System and Attorney Workloads Standards
ABA SCLAID and Moss Adams collaboratively conducted the Oregon Project, An Analysis of Public Defense Attorney Workloads. Published in January 2022, the Oregon Project includes an analysis of historical public defense caseloads and staffing, as well as a Delphi process, which resulted in attorney workload standards. Combining these analyses, the project determined that, at current caseloads, Oregon has a very substantial deficiency of contract public defense attorneys.Read - Report
The New Mexico Project: An Analysis of the New Mexico Public Defense System and Attorney Workload Standards
ABA SCLAID and Moss Adams collaboratively conducted the New Mexico Project, an analysis of public defense attorney workloads. Published in January 2022, the New Mexico Project included an analysis of historical public defense caseloads and staffing, as well as a Delphi process, which resulted in attorney workload standards. Comparing these analyses, the project determined that New Mexico has a significant deficiency of public defense attorneys.Read - Report
Use of the Delphi Method in ABA SCLAID Public Defense Workload Studies: A Report on Lessons Learned - By Stephen F. Hanlon, Malia Brink & Norman Lefstein.
Together with data and system analysis experts, ABA SCLAID has conducted public defender workload studies in Missouri, Louisiana, Colorado, Rhode Island and Indiana. This new report details ABA SCLAID’s use of the Delphi Method to establish jurisdiction-specific public defense workload standards and details lessons learned while conducting these studies.Read - Report
Privatization of Services in the Criminal Justice System
Released in June 2020
Released in June, 2020, this Report provides an comprehensive overview of the role private companies play throughout the criminal justice system and how the use of these private companies impacts low-income individuals moving through the system. The report summarizes research done by other entities, academics, journalists, and activists on specific aspects of privatization. The organization of the report tracks the sequence of a typical accused individual's experiences in the criminal justice system following arrest, demonstrating how costs compound as the individual moves through the system.Read - Report
Exemplary Defense: A Study of Three Groundbreaking Projects in Public Defense
The Exemplary Defense Report is a study of three inventive programs in public defense: (1) The Decarceration Project of The Legal Aid Society in New York City, New York; (2) The Future Appointed Counsel Training (FACT) Program in Harris County, Texas; and (3) The Independent Juvenile Defender Program in Los Angeles, California. The Report documents the formation of these projects and their successes. The goals of the Report are to encourage and assist other public defense providers in replicating the work of the recognized projects and pursuing their own innovation.