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Survey of Public Defenders

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $349,920)

The Survey of Public Defenders (SPD) is an extension of BJS’s efforts to better understand the roles of the prosecution, defense, and courts in the criminal justice system. Specifically, the SPD will collect data directly from public defenders who provide legal representation to defendants charged with criminal offenses, juvenile offenses, or defendants in post-conviction cases. BJS has never directly collected data from litigating public defenders. The SPD will build on an earlier project that designed a survey instrument and suggested sampling frame.

The project team will (1) revise the survey instrument to reflect a universe of public defenders rather than all indigent defense attorneys; (2) develop a brief agency-level survey to collect agency-level data that could be used for nonresponse adjustments; (3) review and revise the dual-frame sampling plan proposed in the developmental work of this project OR propose a two-stage or other alternative sampling design; (4) develop a web-based data collection strategy that is compliant with BJS specifications; and (5) pilot test the survey to examine how different contact strategies affect the response rate and whether a sufficient response rate is achievable. If the project is successful in these tasks, BJS may consider a continuation award to field the SPD.


Date Created: September 16, 2019