The United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division published a “Dear Colleague” letter on March 14, 2016 outlining seven recommendations concerning court enforcement of fines and fees. The mission of the Working Group is to review the recommendations, and to evaluate 1) whether Massachusetts laws support each recommendation; and 2) whether the Trial Court is in compliance with each recommendation. This report further sets forth the Working Group’s proposals for adoption and implementation of the Department of Justice recommendations.
In 2016, the CA Commission on Aging joined with the California Women’s Law Center and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls to host the first statewide convening focused on older women in poverty through the lenses of retirement options, elder justice, food insecurity, and health access. This article provides evidence that the relationship between legal services and Adult Protective Services (APS) and the Long Term Care Ombudsman should be strengthened in order to expand and improve elder justice resources.
This report describes the role that racial bias plays in the practices of police and traffic courts in California. Using records collected from the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, U.S. Census, and a host of police departments, the authors offer evidence that a disproportionate number of license suspensions and arrests related to unpaid fines and fees exacerbate poverty among low-income populations. The discussion also includes true accounts of such experiences as well as recommendations for alleviating issues related to the criminal justice system’s handling of traffic infractions.
This report by the Florida Bar Foundation provides quantifiable evidence to support the economic argument for civil legal aid. Data collected from the work of 33 organization in Florida indicates that providing pro bono service to low-income individuals results in substantial social and economic returns.
This report details the economic and social benefits driven by civil legal services in Maine in 2015. The report finds one-to-one civil legal aid assistance involving a variety of issues generated approximately $37 million in 2015 for the state.
Legislating Forgiveness: A Study of Post-Conviction Certificates as Policy to Address the Employment Consequences of a Conviction
A criminal record poses a variety of challenges to becoming a productive, law-abiding member of society. Certificates restoring eligibility for employment and certain licenses possess the potential to help individuals with a criminal record overcome such obstacles to achieve successful reentry. This study indicates that while the value of these documents often goes unrecognized by courts and employers, evidence suggests that legal aid providers can act as powerful advocates for expanding access to and successful implementation of certificates, ultimately facilitating stable employment.
The Community Listening Project, sponsored by the DC Consortium of Legal Service Providers, assesses the various challenges experienced by D.C.’s poorest residents in an effort to determine how to better serve members of the community in most need of assistance. Through these efforts, participants identified housing, transportation, neighborhood concerns, employment, and debt as the greatest challenges to overcoming poverty. In addition to gaining a more informed understanding of the issues affecting low-income individuals, this research highlights the power that the law has to drive social change in the pursuit of meaningful justice for all.
Roles Beyond Lawyers: Summary and Recommendations of an Evaluation of the New York City Court Navigators Program
This report found that tenants facing eviction in New York City were able to get significantly better results under an innovative program that uses “court navigators,” who are not lawyers. The New York City Court Navigators Program seeks to address a considerable imbalance in legal representation, since, at the time of the study, approximately 90 percent of tenants did not have a lawyer, while the vast majority of landlords did.
The LFA Group conducted an evaluation for the San Francisco Office of the Public Defender on the Clean Slate Program. LFA Group finds that the Clean Slate program reduced barriers to employment, education, public benefits, and housing.
Report on the Survey of Judges on the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Representation in the Courts
The survey of 1,176 state court judges had significant participation from nine states. The survey found that the number of cases had increased and fewer parties had representation, which slowed the courts.