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August 23, 2023

Principle 2: Funding, Structure, and Oversight

For state criminal charges, the responsibility to provide public defense representation rests with the state; accordingly, there should be adequate state funding and oversight of Public Defense Providers.Where the caseloads allow, public defense should be a mixed system: primarily dedicated public defense offices, augmented by additional Public Defense Providers to handle overflow and conflict of interest cases. The compensation for lawyers working for Public Defense Providers should be appropriate for and comparable to other publicly funded lawyers. Full-time public defender salaries and benefits should be no less than the salaries and benefits for full-time prosecutors. Other provider attorneys should be paid a reasonable fee that reflects the cost of overhead and other office expenses, as well as payment for work. Investigators, social workers, experts, and other staff and service providers necessary to public defense should also be funded and compensated in a manner consistent with this Principle. There should be at least parity of resources between public defense counsel and prosecution.