NLADA Chosen as Training and Technical Assistance Provider for Smart Defense Initiative

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Release Date: 
Friday, October 2, 2015

For more information, contact: Bill Wright, Director of Communications
Phone: 202-456-0620 x231; Email: [email protected]

(Washington, D.C., October 2, 2015) - NLADA is pleased to announce our selection as the training and technical assistance (TTA) provider for the Smart Defense Initiative. Administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Smart Defense is a grant program designed to improve public defense delivery systems at the state and local levels. Over the next 24 months, NLADA will directly assist five public defense sites across the country as they implement innovative strategies to strengthen performance and promote high quality representation for low-income defendants.

As the Smart Defense TTA provider, NLADA will draw both on our extensive experience in delivering technical assistance and our broad network of public defense and criminal justice experts. The National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), our valuable ally in this endeavor, will support NLADA’s work to achieve the Smart Defense goal of improving public defense systems. NCJA’s expansive reach will help engage key criminal justice stakeholders whose involvement is essential for sustained improvement in public defense.

BJA, through a separate competitive application, chose the five Smart Defense sites to receive targeted training and technical assistance from NLADA. They are:

  • Alameda County (CA) Public Defender

  • Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy

  • New York, NY

  • Texas Indigent Defense Commission

  • The Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office

NLADA will work with each of these defender sites to develop an individualized technical assistance plan that will improve public defense by incorporating data collection and analysis, promoting education and training, and harnessing innovative technology.

Central to this effort is the Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System, adopted by the American Bar Association in 2002. The Ten Principles serve as a benchmark for quality representation of indigent defendants. The experiences of the five sites will be captured in publications and other relevant resources so they can be shared broadly with the public defense and greater criminal justice community.

Smart Defense is part of BJA’s Smart Suite, which focuses on the implementation of evidence-based, data-driven solutions that enable criminal systems to become more effective, efficient, and economical, while also promoting the DOJ’s mission “to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice.” The selection of NLADA as the Smart Defense training and technical assistance provider continues our ongoing collaboration with BJA to ensure the protection of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and promote excellence in public defense services.