Civil Legal Aid Offers a Second Chance and Keeps Americans Working

A person in the shadows.

April is Second Chance Month and, with that, we celebrate the important role legal aid organizations and public defense providers can play in helping people with criminal records. There are tens of thousands civil collateral consequences of having a criminal record, such as having to disclose prior convictions on job applications, difficulty securing an occupational license, or losing one’s drivers’ license. Receiving legal services can help stabilize housing and reduce barriers to employment for the almost 75 million, or one-in-three, American adults facing these consequences.

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Spring is a Time for Renewal and for Second Chances

Graphic for National Second Chance Month. It’s finally spring and April – a month our criminal justice community has dedicated as Second Chance Month. At JPO, we join our community in bringing attention to the importance of second chances and the need to ensure that those impacted by the criminal justice system gain opportunities to restore their voting rights, find employment, get a driver’s license, have their record(s) expunged, and more. Continue reading “Spring is a Time for Renewal and for Second Chances”

Unlocking Alternatives to Juvenile Detention

Since a peak in the mid-nineties, the number of juveniles placed into secure detention has fallen dramatically, in part to due to a decrease in juvenile crime, and in part due to an increase in pre-trial diversion programs and post-adjudication alternatives to incarceration. These programs, such as the Picture of prison gate with barbed wirejuvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs) I work with, seek to bring about behavior change and ensure public safety, without the iatrogenic consequences of incarceration.

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You’re Hired

Students at Edwins laughing in kitchen
Credit: Lara Talevski

If you’ve looked for a job in the last decade, there is a great chance that Indeed was your go-to search engine. With just a few clicks, thousands of vacant job opportunities were at your fingertips. Granted, many other job-seeking candidates applied for those same employment opportunities. According to Interview Success Formula, on average, companies receive 118 applications for each new position. I think it’s safe to say that the job market is competitive.  It’s even harder for treatment court participants who may have a lack of education, limited skills, and/or a substance use disorder.

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Kim Ball’s Summer Reads

Kim’s Summer Reads _ Transparent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me, summer is the sound of cicadas, the sight of lightning bugs, and the setting off on a family vacation. My mother was a teacher and my dad a farmer, so their schedules aligned perfectly with my school schedule, which allowed us to take summer vacations as a family. Because my dad didn’t like to fly, we drove everywhere—across the country to California, down to the southern tip of Texas, and out to the beaches in Virginia and Florida. I’ve continued this tradition with my daughter. We take a family vacation every summer. Continue reading “Kim Ball’s Summer Reads”

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.