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BJA FY 22 John R. Justice (JRJ) Formula Grant Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $286,169)

Both prosecutor and public defender offices throughout California are consistently challenged in attracting and retaining talented attorneys. Attorneys interested in public interest law often forego opportunities to work in these offices in order to seek more financially-lucrative private sector positions. Attorney shortages in these government service offices result in overworked attorneys handling unmanageable caseloads, potentially affecting public safety, the administration of justice, and ultimately the public's confidence in our justice system. Student loan debt is consistently cited as a primary reason why many attorneys decline or leave positions as prosecutors and public defenders. 

The John R. Justice (JRJ) Student Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment assistance for local, state, and federal public defenders and local and state prosecutors who commit to continued employment as public defenders and prosecutors. California's participation in the JRJ program serves to promote the recruitment and retention of qualified attorneys to serve, or continue to serve, in the public sector as prosecutors and public defenders for at least three full calendar years and beyond. 

The California Goveror's Office of !=mergency Services (Cal OES) will administer the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program. Cal OES will partner with the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to implement the goals of this program. CSAC is the principal state agency responsible for administering the student financial aid program in California. Together, Cal OES and CSAC will verify employment, current loan statements and administer the loan repayment process. Cal OES will be responsible for employment verification and all JRJ Program administration and reporting requirements. CSAC will be responsible for loan verification and loan repayment of program award recipients. 

Disbursements will be made to current beneficiaries who have demonstrated the least ability to repay their loans. A fair distribution of funding will be based upon geography and population density as well as an equal distribution of funds to prosecutors and public defenders. Cal OES will maintain all necessary documentation supporting funding decisions. The outcomes from administering the JRJ Program include assisting the beneficiaries in defraying or satisfying their student loan balances, and while providing a unique and positive incentive for attorneys to enter into, or continue in service as prosecutors, public defenders or federal defenders in California.

Date Created: September 22, 2022