Indigent Defense Environmental Scan: Identifying Research Needs to Support Fair and Equitable Indigent Defense in the United States

Duren Banks et al., Priority Crim. Just. Needs Initiative (2023).

This report details gaps in research around the provision of public defense and provides recommendations for addressing those needs. Researchers completed a comprehensive scan of the current literature around the needs of public defense systems, obtained input from practitioners, and reviewed priorities of federal and private research organizations to develop a list of key research priorities. The main priorities were sorted into three categories: 1) types and characteristics of public defense systems as required by state or locality; 2) capabilities and needs of public defense counsel, such as recruitment and retention of qualified attorneys and other resource needs of engaged defense counsel; and 3) relevant outcomes for individuals processed in the criminal legal system, including the impact of defense counsel and the judicial process on an individual’s perception of fairness and case outcomes. This resource highlights solutions to fill these research gaps, including engaging with impacted people to get perspectives on what constitutes a positive client-attorney relationship and exploring the feasibility of requiring courts to collect basic descriptive data on access to counsel issues. This resource may provide youth defense advocates with a starting point for identifying specific youth defense research needs and solutions in their jurisdictions.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Research, Resource Library
Tags: Youth Defense Research Priorities, Youth Defense Systems