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Enhancing Youth Access to Justice, State Reform Implementation Program, Indiana Juvenile Defense Improvement Plan

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $741,848)

In FY 2015, OJJDP awarded planning grants to four states to support them as they developed strategies and policies to ensure that every child receives the guarantees of due process and equal protection and that their other constitutional rights are honored. This initiative provides grants to support award recipients and their collaborative partnership teams as they implement their reform plans to develop effective, well-resourced, statewide model juvenile indigent defense delivery systems with assistance from the training and technical assistance provider for this initiative.

The Indiana Public Defender Council (IPDC) seeks to build a strong community of juvenile defenders into its defense delivery system and overcome challenges to creating a well-coordinated, data-driven, specialized approach to delivery of juvenile defense services. With the guidance of a strong, interdisciplinary and interagency Advisory Board, the Juvenile Defense Office of IPDC will: (1) reduce barriers to early appointment of counsel in delinquency and status cases at all critical stages, including early appointment at detention hearings or initial hearings; (2) increase state resources to improve access to counsel for post-dispositional representation, especially those who are incarcerated, including appeals and civil legal services for re-entering youth; (3) create a system of comprehensive and thorough legal advocacy which recognizes juvenile defense as a specialization through enhanced training opportunities, increased state support services, and access to experts, with particular focus in rural areas; and (4) enhance current data collection systems to promote accuracy and include juvenile defense indicators. The Juvenile Defense Office will include a Trial Unit for county trial level support, including 2-4 pilot projects in targeted judicial districts, and a Post-Disposition Unit, which will work to increase appellate representation, including incarcerated youth. The Trial Unit pilot sites will establish target indicators on reducing waiver, early appointment, increasing training, use of experts and other resources, and data collection methods. The Trial Unit will help coordinate an annual one day juvenile defender conference, and up to six three hour JTIP trainings in targeted areas, including pilot sites. The Post-disposition Unit will create a system of routine attorney access within DOC, including development and implementation of orientation materials, screening for and assistance with appeals upon placement at DOC, and development of resources for re-entry civil legal assistance. It will track data on the number of appeals, contacts with youth at DOC, and materials distributed. The Juvenile Defense Office will also identify and target specific juvenile justice issues for policy work. This project will create a more fair and equitable system of representation for youth, and help to achieve better outcomes for youth in the delinquency system.


Date Created: September 20, 2016