Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $451,838)
The OJJDP FY 2015 Smart on Juvenile Justice: Enhancing Youth Access to Justice Initiative will provide funding to (1) develop effective, statewide, well-resourced model juvenile indigent defense legal delivery systems; (2) develop and implement standards of practice and policy for the effective management of such delivery systems; and (3) develop state or regional resource centers to help state, tribal, and local juvenile defense systems enhance the quality of legal representation, leverage resources, and collect and analyze data to measure the effectiveness of specific initiatives. This initiative will provide cost-effective and innovative training for the juvenile indigent defense bar, including public defenders and court-appointed counsel working on behalf of juvenile indigent defendants, particularly in traditionally underserved locations, including rural areas.
Category 3: Youth Access to Justice State and Tribal Juvenile Defender Resource Center grants will support state and tribal juvenile defenders to leverage local resources that address challenges around juvenile defense in rural, tribal, remote, and underserved populations.
The Colorado Juvenile Defender Centers Access to Juvenile Justice: The Rural and Tribal Southwest project is designed to address the overarching problems of access to counsel and the quality of juvenile defense representation in rural, remote, tribal, and underserved areas in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico (hereinafter Southwest Region). This program consists of three components: (1) assess the state of access to juvenile justice in the rural and tribal areas; (2) develop recommendations to improve access to juvenile justice in rural and tribal areas; and (3) provide the training and resources necessary, through partnerships built in tribal and rural areas, to prepare juvenile defenders to provide specialized and culturally competent juvenile defense to all youth in these regions. An advisory board and rural and tribal subcommittees will be formed to create and administer assessment tools. The assessments will include inquiries into: geographic location of counsel in relation to courts and detention facilities, and how that effects both initial and ongoing access to counsel; cultural competency of juvenile defense attorneys representing tribal youth off sovereign lands; ensuring and maintaining juvenile defense expertise in rural areas, particularly where attorneys take only a few juvenile defense cases per year; availability of specialized juvenile defense training in rural and tribal areas; and practices already used within sovereign nations to address the issues of delinquency without the involvement of state action and/or without incarcerating youth. The information learned from these assessments will be analyzed by consultants and rural and tribal juvenile defense experts. These experts and consultants will evaluate the data collected and make policy, practice, and training recommendations. The project will develop and deliver training throughout the region, with a particular focus on rural, remote, tribal, and underserved areas.