Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $364,393)
The Enhancements for Juvenile Defense program supports states and localities in developing and implementing tools and strategies to ensure that youth involved with the juvenile justice system have fair and equal access to high-quality legal representation and to resources that address the collateral consequences of justice system involvement. Category 1 under this program provides funding to states and localities to enhance juvenile defense in one or more of the following areas: staff training, data collection and analysis, juvenile defense delivery system analyses, and/or addressing a specific need(s) identified by the state or locality related to juvenile defense services delivery.
The Juvenile Defender Advocate Project will address shortcomings in South Carolinas juvenile defense system by equipping defenders with specialized skills to assist youth to remain in the community or re-enter the community with reduced risk of recidivism, and prevent youth from being unnecessarily incarcerated. The project will emphasize specialized training for all attorneys defending indigent juvenile offenders. This intensified training will build upon an existing training framework out of the states Commission on Indigent Defense, coordinated by a Juvenile Defender Advocate who will serve as a resource for juvenile defense attorneys. The project will implement a sustainable training curriculum for juvenile defenders, with specialized topics regarding the ability of juvenile defense counsel to advocate for placement decisions for juvenile clients that reduce their prospects of re-offending or promote successful reentry for youth placed outside of their homes. The Project will include a robust data collection and analysis component to augment the Commissions existing information technology. That data analysis will lead to improved outcomes for youth, and reductions in reoffending and recidivism. CA/NCF