Lead Like A Woman

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership over the past year—are leaders born or made? What’s the best way to grow as a leader? How can I inspire my team and guide JPO to new and greater successes? With it being Women’s History Month, my thoughts have also turned to what it means to me as a woman to be a leader and how can I best use the lessons I’ve learned as a woman working in male-dominated fields to mentor the women on my staff.

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Friday News Roundup: March 2, 2018

Every day we are bombarded with news and information on our feeds, social media accounts, on television, and in our email inboxes. It can be hard to decide between all of our obligations what is truly newsworthy and what is just noise. This weekly roundup pulls from across the internet to find the best and most interesting stories about treatment courts, juvenile justice, public defense, the right to counsel, and big news in the criminal justice world.


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This Is Gideon

If you were arrested and charged with a crime, would you know what to do? If you were brought into a courtroom in handcuffs, told to stand straight, look up at a judge, and listen to a prosecutor dressed in a suit make statements about your character and accusing you of a crime, would you know how to react? What if you had someone next to you, who was familiar with the process and the court actors, telling you it was okay and that s/he was there to support and advocate for you, would that change how you felt? That is the power of Gideon.

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Friday News Roundup: February 23, 2018

Every day we are bombarded with news and information on our feeds, social media accounts, on television, and in our email inboxes. It can be hard to decide between all of our obligations what is truly newsworthy and what is just noise. This weekly roundup will pull from across the internet to find the best and most interesting stories about treatment courts, juvenile justice, public defense, the right to counsel, and big news in the criminal justice world. Check back every Friday for the latest news roundup.


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Providing Strengths-Based, Community-Based TTA: Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Missouri landscape photo.

Last month, I traveled with my staff to lead a three-day site visit in a Missouri district located about two hours northeast of Kansas City. Driving past acres of amber waves of grains, I was drawn to the rural landscape.  I was delighted by murals dotting the town of Chillicothe, immortalizing their claim as “The Home of Sliced Bread,” and I marveled at Linn County’s turn-of-the-century courthouse. As an outsider in a community that was so different from my own, I couldn’t help but reflect on the vast and rich diversity of our country.

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Friday News Roundup: February 16, 2018

Every day we are bombarded with news and information on our feeds, social media accounts, on television, and in our email inboxes. It can be hard to decide between all of our obligations what is truly newsworthy and what is just noise. This weekly roundup will pull from across the internet to find the best and most interesting stories about treatment courts, juvenile justice, indigent defense, the right to counsel, and big news in the criminal justice world. Check back every Friday for the latest news roundup.

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Supporting Treatment Courts Over the Years

I am tasked with surveying women who are participants in a family treatment court. The survey questionnaire is lengthy and may seem daunting in paper form, so I’ve been instructed to administer it in person. I handwrite the answers during hour and a half long interviews. Sometimes the interviews last even longer, depending upon the emotional state of the participant. Aside from reading reports on emerging problem-solving courts, this is my first experience inside a family treatment court. It is 1999, and I am working as a research associate for a study on Manhattan Family Treatment Courts while attending graduate school at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

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Friday Reads: February 9, 2018

Every day we are bombarded with news and information on our feeds, social media accounts, on television, and in our email inboxes. It can be hard to decide between all of our obligations what is truly newsworthy and what is just noise. We hope to make it easier for you by introducing JPO’s weekly news roundup!

This weekly roundup will pull from across the internet to find the best and most interesting stories about treatment courts, juvenile justice, indigent defense, the right to counsel, and big news in the criminal justice world. Check back every Friday for the latest news roundup.

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From Research to Policy to Practice and Back Again

I have been lucky in my career to have a wonderful professional mentor who is also my friend. Domingo Herraiz, the director of programs at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, told me the most empowering thing I can recall, “Don’t be afraid to fail.” Will Smith has summed up the same advice into a great dictum:  “Fail Early, Fail Often, Fail Forward.

Because of Domingo’s advice, I’ve had the courage to take risks and come up with innovative ideas. In particular, I’ve learned to embrace research. As a former prosecutor and senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), I admit, it was an adjustment, but, boy, am I glad I was willing to fail. Continue reading “From Research to Policy to Practice and Back Again”

Welcome to the JPO Blog!

The Justice Programs Office (JPO), a center in the School of Public Affairs at American University, is delighted to welcome you to our blog. Check back weekly for insights from our staff on criminal justice issues of the day, our Friday roundup of the most relevant news articles from the past week, and updates on the latest happenings in our projects, such as the:

  • National Drug Court Resource Center, which equips drug court practitioners with a myriad of drug court resources, including evidence-based practices, training and technical assistance, publications, webinars, and a searchable online drug court map.
  • Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Training and Technical Assistance Initiative, which provides training and technical assistance to juvenile drug treatment courts across the nation and addresses their needs from behavioral health and program practices perspectives.
  • Right to Counsel National Campaign, a national public awareness campaign to inform and engage policymakers, criminal justice stakeholders, and the public on the importance of meaningfully carrying out the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and the effective delivery of public defense services.
  • The Justice in Government Project, which provide strategic guidance to state and local officials seeking to leverage civil legal aid to achieve their policy and programmatic goals and ensure the maximum benefit from dollars spent on low- and moderate-income people and communities.

Please also consider writing for us. We welcome submissions from our friends and partners about issues related our work. JPO provides research, technical assistance, training, evaluation, and capacity-building services to jurisdictions, organizations, and government agencies throughout the United States and internationally to ensure the systems we rely on for justice are fair, effective, and driven by data. If you would like to be considered for our blog, please email JPOCommunications@american.edu.