Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions Program Department of Justice

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This solicitation presents competitive awards to create multidisciplinary teams to assess and address areas of risk for wrongful conviction and to review and assess post conviction claims of innocence. Applicants will lead collaborative teams of prosecutors, conviction integrity units and innocence programs to complete the work. The solicitation will also seek a training and technical assistance provider to provide support to selected projects through training and hands on technical assistance.

The URLPWC Program supports partnerships between conviction integrity or review units (“Units”) and entities that represent individuals with post-conviction claims of innocence (“Entities”), to review cases of legitimate post-conviction and appeals claims of innocence and to enact measures to ensure justice. Where possible, the URLPWC Program seeks to identify actual perpetrators of crimes, and to bring justice to victim(s), thereby enhancing public safety.

By advancing methodologies and policies that address the underlying causes of wrongful convictions, URLPWC funding will help prosecutors, law enforcement, defense counsel, and courts to identify actual perpetrators, and to develop training tools, policies, and procedures that can prevent wrongful convictions. In addition, Unit reviews may also result in the identification of systemic issues related to prior practices and errors, as well as new forensic practices that can contribute to preventing wrongful convictions. URLPWC will thereby support prosecutorial efforts to address violent crime and improve criminal prosecution, resulting in safer neighborhoods.

Public Defender programs are encouraged to apply under Category 1:

Category 1: Eligible applicants are limited to state and local governments with authority over prosecutors’ offices that work to prevent, identify, and correct false or wrongful convictions, state and local public defender’s offices, nonprofit organizations (including tribal nonprofit or for-profit organizations) dedicated to judicial verdicts that comport to the rule of law, and institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education). Applications must include a partnership between a state or local prosecutor’s office and an organization or entity dedicated to ensuring just convictions and/or acquittals.

Funding Source: 
Bureau of Justice Assistance
Eligible Grantees: 

City or township governments
Special district governments
County governments
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Private institutions of higher education
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
For profit organizations other than small businesses
State governments
Small businesses