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    Roadmaps - Funding the Justice System: How Are the Courts Funded? (pdf)

    Roadmaps - Funding the Justice System: How Are the Courts Funded? (pdf)

    Roadmaps - Funding the Justice System: How Are the Courts Funded? (pdf)

    The justice system in states across the country has traditionally suffered from a lack of adequate and balanced funding. It now accounts for just over four percent of all government expenditures nationwide, with similar allocations from state budgets. There are many components of what is generally referred to as the "justice system." In addition to the courts themselves, this system encompasses law enforcement, prosecution, indigent defense, and corrections.

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    There are strong arguments to be made that all aspects are under funded in light of overall budgets. Traditionally, the courts have been particularly at risk in this regard. This Roadmap will focus on the courts both because of their critical and central role in the system as a whole, and as an illustration of the kinds of concerns and approaches which may be applicable for other elements as well. Some states have begun to address the problem of court funding in recent years. In many cases, the issue was largely ignored until economic collapse was imminent. An overall improved economy in the late 1990's, with concurrent increased tax revenues, eased the crisis in many jurisdictions temporarily, only to find significant budget shortfalls reappear when the economy took a down turn in the early 2000's.

    Even in today's relatively improved economic times, it is critical to examine the issue of court funding and strive to put into place institutional plans and methods that will assure the future of court funding when the inevitable downturns come, and judicial systems again become prime targets for budgetary strictures. By providing information as to how courts are funded currently, and examining shortfalls and problems encountered through the years, we hope to offer ideas as to how the courts themselves, the organized bar, and the public can work together toward solutions.

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    Publication Date

    5/1/2009 12:00:00 AM

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