Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a $6.7 million grant from the Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) that will help provide civil legal defense across the country.
These grants are part of the Justice Department's efforts to improve often underfunded and impecunious legal defense practices on both the local and state level. In addition, these new grants will also assist with training and technical support, mentoring, leadership development, and new staff hiring to bolster juvenile and tribal civil defense services.
Attorney General Holder said this type of reform is integral to the criminal justice system.
“Everyone accused of a serious crime has the right to legal representation – even if she or he cannot afford it,” said Attorney General Holder. “In recent years, the Department of Justice has made a commitment to improving the delivery, quality and availability of legal services for everyone in our country, including the very poor. Today's significant grant awards will help ensure America’s criminal justice system is fair for every defendant, regardless of wealth.”
The FY 2013 grants, totaling more than $5.4 million provided by OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), promotes cost-effective updates to improve shoddy defense for the poor.
“These awards, in conjunction with other efforts we’re making to strengthen indigent defense, will fortify our public defender system and help us to meet our constitutional and moral obligation to administer a justice system that matches its demands for accountability with a commitment to fair, due process for poor defendants,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West.
More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.