Just four years ago I was sitting with this exact (probably outdated, now) laptop trying to sell myself to American University’s admissions team. In my application, I vowed to engage in every opportunity possible to immerse myself in the criminal justice education I was pursuing. Four years later, I can proudly say that after completing three internships, graduating with University and Latin Honors, getting hired at the Justice Programs Office, and accepting a scholarship to attend the Washington College of Law (WCL), I have done just that. Now, after attending the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) Annual Conference in Houston, I know I am ready to pursue my own legal career and advocate for these life-changing specialty dockets.
President Trump commutes the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson following lobbying from Kim Kardashian West, Wisconsin juvenile prison officials agree to end pepper spraying and solitary confinement in response to ACLU lawsuit, and Texas counties are being forced to shore up public defense due to lack of state funds. All of this and much more below in our latest edition of the JPO Friday News Roundup.
U.S. Representative Doug Collins introduces a bipartisan bill to combat the opioid epidemic, an Illinois law designed to seal juvenile records has unintended consequences for police misconduct cases, and Tennessee approves $9.7 million in funding for indigent defense. All of this and much more in this week’s edition of the Friday News Roundup.
For those who work in the treatment court field, how often is a public defender part of your drug treatment court team? If your answer is “sometimes,” “not often,” or “not at all,” please continue to read. If your answer is “always,” kudos to you; please share this blog post and your stories with us.
Drug treatment courts use a specialized model for people facing criminal drug charges who live with serious substance use and mental health disorders. Drug court teams, which comprise members of the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social services, and treatment communities, work together to help addicted offenders get into long-term recovery. As part of the drug treatment court team, public defenders participate in the team meetings and often provides input in his/her client’s treatment plan.
The Justice Programs Office is celebrating National Drug Court Month by sharing the personal perspectives of those who work in the treatment court field. Angela Plunkett, Statewide Drug Court Coordinator for the State of Missouri, finishes our guest series with her personal journey from a tough-as-nails parole officer to becoming a drug court advocate and statewide coordinator.
Just by looking at my 5’1 stature, you wouldn’t guess I used to be a hard-nosed, pistol-packin’ parole officer (PO), nicknamed The Iron Maiden (the only nickname I care to repeat).
I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I was a big-headed, judgmental PO who used to say to clients, “If I can say NO to drugs, you can too,” and “You’d better not EVER lie to me…”
The associate judge approached myself and three other PO’s in the law library one day after court. He asked if we had ever heard of “drug court.” My response, which surprised even me, was, “I don’t know what it is, but I’m all in!” After 12 years at Probation & Parole I was tired of the generational, revolving door and needed something new.
The House Appropriations Committee greenlights a bill to fund the fight against the opioid epidemic, the governor of Colorado asks lawmakers to participate in an intensive review the state’s juvenile justice system, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court approves a pay increase for court-appointed defense attorneys. These stories and more below in the latest edition of the JPO Friday News Roundup.
The Justice Programs Office is celebrating National Drug Court Month by sharing the personal perspectives of those who work in the treatment court field. Lauren van Schilfgaarde, Tribal Law Specialist at the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, continues our series with a look at Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts and their ability to heal both addictions and communities.
The modern tribal court is not an organic indigenous system. It is, in part, a product of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934, a federal statute that rejected prior federal Indian policies of assimilation and land loss and promoted the reestablishment of tribal governments. Yet, the implementation of the Act meant tribal governmental structures needed to look and sound like Anglo institutions rather than traditional tribal ones. Furthered by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, the typical tribal court mirrors the American adversarial system, complete with a focus on incarceration and poor recidivism rates.
A 6-3 decision from the US Supreme Court ruled that a Louisiana court could not accept a lawyer’s admission of guilt over his client’s objections, drug courts remain divided on the best path to treating addiction, and a local group sends lawyers to help juveniles in jail navigate the legal system. All these stories and much more below in the latest edition of the JPO News Roundup.
Last year, the annual National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) conference was held in Washington, D.C., in June. The Justice Programs Office presents at the conference every year and we bring many of our resources with us to share with the treatment court field. One of the most popular tools is a thumb drive pre-loaded with a library of digital resources for drug court practitioners. I attended the conference last year as a newly appointed Project Director for the National Drug Court Resource Center, a project funded by Bureau of Justice Assistance, and we had just completed the planning phase for many of the project’s initiatives. During the conference, I came across a dollar that I deemed to be my drug court lucky dollar. I have carried this dollar with me in my phone case over the last year and would like to share the successes we have had since.
A 2014 juvenile justice reform bill in Kentucky sees big reductions in youth incarceration four years later, San Diego Homeless Court offers relief from fines for those least able to afford them, and Los Angeles public defenders continue to protest the new head of the public defender agency due to lack of experience. Continue below to read these stories and more in the latest edition of the JPO Friday News Roundup.