January 2019
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the Justice Programs Office. January is a time to reflect on values, look ahead, and plan for the future. During this year, JPO resolves to further our mission to advance an equitable justice system that promotes human dignity and respect. With those values in mind, we are excited to share the launch of new projects and plans for the year ahead. In 2019, we plan to:
 
·         Bring collaborative partners together and continue our support for the Right to Counsel National Campaign. We will host a meeting with judges, court managers, and national system actor experts on how to enhance case flow management to ensure effective assistance of counsel.

·         Jumpstart a unique new initiative to train and assist local criminal court personnel to understand, identify, and assist survivors of human trafficking, with the help of some of the nation’s leading experts in the field.

·         Highlight equity and inclusion in the justice system. We will release a racial and ethnics disparities program assessment tool for drug treatment courts and provide resources to local treatment courts in addressing any disparities within their court processes.

·         Train and assist courts in implementing best practices for juveniles within the justice system. The JDTC TTA team will hold a 3-day training on the gold standard of justice for juveniles involved in drug treatment court; visit courts throughout the nation to engage in strategic planning for improvement; provide ongoing technical assistance to courts grappling with how to best serve the youth who come through their doors.

·         Increase access to civil justice. Our Justice in Government Project will launch a comprehensive toolkit for policymakers, attorneys, and other advocates interested in identifying those government policies, programs, and initiatives that would be more effective, efficient, and fair by including legal services among the supportive services provided.
 
We are looking forward to continuing partnerships and fostering new ones.
 
Best Wishes!
Director Kim Ball and the JPO Team
Celebrating Mentoring Month
January is Mentoring Month. JPO supports this month's theme by sharing resources from NDCRC and JDTC that illustrate the important role mentors play in the lives of drug court participants. In adult drug courts, mentorship programs enable participants (civilians and veterans) to have a structured support system as they go through their programs. In juvenile drug courts, mentorship can be a transformative experience for both mentor and mentee. Mentors make a difference in young lives by being responsible role models for youth and building relationships based on trust and consistency. Additionally, mentors can serve as guides that help young people make different decisions about their futures, such as engaging in school, reducing their involvement in miconduct, and other transformative behaviors. This month, JPO will be sharing resources as well as stories about mentorship programs in courts around the United States. Be sure to follow JPO on twitter @AU_JPO and on Facebook.  

Please join us in celebrating Mentoring Month by sharing mentoring stories on social media using #MentoringMonth.

  JPO Director Kim Ball on FIRST STEP Act
Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act or the FIRST STEP Act was recently passed by Congress.  In an interview last month, Director Kim Ball provided commentary on this criminal justice reform bill.

Director Ball acknowledged the hard work that has gone into this bill and reminds fellow justice reform advocates of what lies ahead. She states this is a good first step and that she believes “we have a lot of work to do.”
Right to Counsel National Campaign Continues
The Justice Programs Office (JPO) is excited to announce a new project, Enhancing Caseflow Management to Ensure Effective Assistance of Counsel , supported by the State Justice Institute (SJI) . As part of the ongoing work of the Right to Counsel (R2C) National Campaign and in partnership with the National Association for Court Management (NACM) and the National Association of Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers (NAPCO) , JPO will convene a multidisciplinary group of court practitioners and national experts to discuss practical strategies to enhance caseflow management with emphasis on effective assistance of counsel. As a result of this convening, the group will produce a management document for court practitioners nationwide with a set of recommendations. For more information, please contact Senior Policy Advisor Genevieve Citrin Ray at citrin@american.edu
Introducing MOSAICS
 
JPO is thrilled to announce an award from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) to assist court personnel in creating and implementing effective, responsive interventions for human trafficking survivors. With this award, JPO will launch Maximizing OVC's Survivor Assistance in Court Settings (MOSAICS). MOSAICS will provide training and technical assistance (TTA) with a trauma-informed, resilience-based, survivor-centered approach designed specifically for a broad range of stakeholders in local adult criminal court settings, including attorneys, judges, probation, parole, and court and correction officers. The TTA will enable justice actors to increase the identification of human trafficking survivors in criminal court settings, enhance survivor referrals to appropriate services, and decrease re-victimization of human trafficking survivors who interact with the justice system.
 
With a consultant team of nationally recognized human trafficking experts and trafficking survivors, JPO will develop specialized training materials and resources rooted in evidenced based-practices that address all forms of trafficking, including labor trafficking. Together with engaged criminal justice stakeholders, MOSAICS will promote safety and justice for human trafficking survivors vulnerable to arrest. If you have any questions about the new MOSAICS Initiative, please contact Project Director Zoë Root at  zoeroot@american.edu .
JPO Practitioner-in-Residence and Director of
The Justice in Government Project Karen Lash


The scale of the national crisis in civil legal services is now almost overwhelming — and experts about the problem emphasize that they don’t yet know how many people it affects. According to a recent report of the Legal Services Corporation, 71 percent of low-income households experienced at least one civil legal problem in the previous year, yet they received inadequate or no legal help in 86 percent of the problems they reported. 
 
Access to Justice ,” the Winter 2019 issue of Dædalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a multidisciplinary examination of this crisis, from the challenges of providing quality legal assistance to more people, to the social and economic costs of an often unresponsive legal system, to the opportunities for improvement offered by new technologies, professional innovations, and fresh ways of thinking about the crisis. 
 
Karen’s  essay,  Executive Branch Support for Civil Legal Aid , explains how civil legal services are essential tools for government. She documents how government programs that work improve family stability and public safety and to increase access to housing, healthcare, employment, and education, can be more effective, efficient, and fair when they include legal aid alongside other supportive services. 
Stay Connected with Us!
Love our content? Follow us on social media to keep up to date with our publications, resources, and events.

Visit the JPO blog to read weekly posts from our staff on issues ranging from right to counsel and juvenile justice to treatment courts.