Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $800,000)
This award funds the 2011 National Survey of Indigent Defense Services (NSIDS) project which will endeavor to administer a census of indigent defense systems operating throughout the United States.
Administering the NSIDS will involve developing a plan to implement a nationwide census of indigent defense systems, constructing a survey instrument that can measure the different forms of indigent defense, and collecting detail data on indigent defense programs. The project aims to obtain key information on indigent defense systems including their staffing, budgets, caseload pressures, processes for indigence determination, and professional development standards and guidelines.
This project is the first of its kind to collect census level information on all forms of indigent programs including public defender offices, legal aid programs, and systems that provide indigent defense through either contractual agreements with private law firms or the assignment of private counsel. It will build on prior work BJS has done regarding the census of public defender programs.
Findings from this project will be used throughout the criminal justice community as it seeks to better understand the nature of indigent defense services operating throughout the United States.