Public defense delivery systems – both juvenile and adult – lag far behind the other components of the criminal justice system (such as the courts, prosecution, law enforcement and corrections) when it comes to data collection, analysis, and the ability to form policy based on objective information. In most jurisdictions there is no uniform method for collecting and analyzing public defense data and no central repository for any such data. In many jurisdictions, almost no data is collected at all. Without accurate, verifiable, objective data, decision-makers are left to form policy based solely on anecdotal information, and public attitudes are consigned to speculation, intuition, presumption, and even bias.
NDLI, in partnership with the National Juvenile Defender Center and the Youth Advocacy Department of Massachusetts CPCS, is hosting this By Invitation Only workshop as the first of many steps needed to develop and implement a uniform, integrated, national database of verifiable, accurate, and objective data about public defense services and their delivery in our country. The workshop is intended: to have immediate benefits for the participating agencies and organizations; to obtain from and then provide to the national public defense community information about the current state of public defense case management systems and resources presently available; as the beginning of a resource center aiding defender systems to quickly and cost-effectively develop and implement effective case management systems; and to identify the resources and support needed to develop and implement nationally standardized case management practices throughout our criminal justice systems.