Public Defenders are Heroes

JPO Director Kim Ball with Mark Holden at Smart on Crime conference.

Public defenders are heroes. That message rang loud and clear throughout the third annual Smart on Crime Innovations Conference. From opening remarks by John Jay College of Criminal Justice President Karol Mason who explicitly highlighted defenders as criminal justice reform leaders to the plenary session on day two when Mark Holden and Justice Programs Office Director Kim Ball had a passionate conversation about why the Sixth Amendment matters.

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Friday News Roundup: September 20, 2019

Friday News Roundup

This week in the news: “How do you find your place in the world as an old man when you’ve never lived in it as an adult?” Read Haywood Fennel’s story of release after spending his adult life in prison, the call for federal leadership on civil justice reform from the Center for American Progress and the Justice Programs Office’s own Karen Lash, and more.

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Four Themes in Youth Recovery

Young girl behind a gate, holding the gate railings with her hand.

September marks the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMSHA) 30th Recovery Month! In these past 30 years we have witnessed the expansion of evidence-based clinical drug treatment and a shift towards addressing substance use as a public health issue rather than an individual moral failing. With new evidence and approaches, policy makers, medical professionals, and social workers are combating a decades-rise of drug related deaths: due to the often cited opioid-crisis. But one group is often left out of the conversation: young people.

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New Assessment Tool Aims to Help Treatment Courts Identify Racial Bias

Diverse people group

The upcoming presidential election, the 25th anniversary of the federal 1994 crime bill, and the enactment of the First Step Act, have rekindled the national debate on the urgent need for criminal justice reform at the federal level.

But much of the work to reform the criminal justice system is happening at the state and local level. State prisons house 1.3 million of the 2.3 million people confined nationwide (88% at the state level and 12% at the federal level); and that population is disproportionately people of color. However, state courts are finding that the mass incarceration model is expensive and does little to enhance public safety or reduce crime.

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Effective Counsel Leading to Procedural Fairness

an unbalanced scaleI first learned about the concept of procedural fairness within justice systems in the early 2000s while working at the Department of Justice. The concept seems quite intuitive to me yet when observing court practices, I was struck by how many courts don’t naturally incorporate the elements of procedural fairness into their daily work.

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