Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $93,501)
The Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) is Colorado’s designated state agency for the administration of the John R. Justice (JRJ) Program. The goal of Colorado’s 2022 JRJ Program is to retain full-time prosecutors and public defenders through the use of financial incentives available under this grant. To assist in the selection and administrative decision making processes, Colorado has a three member JRJ Board comprised of the Executive Director of the Colorado District Attorney’s Council, the State Public Defender, and the Director of the DCJ.
Based on previous JRJ funding history, Colorado will continue to fund in three-year cycles. The method of selecting beneficiaries the first year of a cycle is competitive. Once applications are submitted they are scored on, amount of student loan debt; salary; geographic location – cost of living adjustment; number of dependents and months of employment as an eligible attorney for the JRJ program. Applicants also provide a personal statement scored by the board and can have a small impact on the final score. To meet the requirement to give priority consideration to the “least ability to pay” the scoring rubric assigns points based on a scale that determines those that demonstrate the most need; this relies heavily on the applicants’ total amount of student loan debt.
FY2022 will be the second year of the three year cycle. CO will be soliciting applicants for the first year of this same cycle (FY21) beginning October 1, 2022. For CO’s FY22 JRJ Program, the cohort will be eligible for year two pending the DCJ’s process for confirming the JRJ eligibility of each beneficiary. FY22, second year cycle beneficiaries will be awarded, $3,000 – $6,000 to be paid to their student loan companies on their behalf in two to three payments. The individual monthly payments ensure that the beneficiaries are getting the maximum benefit from the JRJ program and the cohort is making progress toward their Public Forgiveness Program payments. Fy22 recipients, as second year cycle recipients will sign and return to DCJ the JRJ Beneficiary Service Agreement (secondary term of service).
CO will submit all required JRJ documents and meet all the assurances and requirements of the JRJ Program. CO continues to benefit in the form of retention of skilled and experienced public defenders and district attorneys as they have the JRJ Program to serve as their incentive for continued public service.