Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $82,979)
Fiscal Year 2022 John R. Justice Grant Loan Repayment Program
(JRJ Grant Program)
Applicant: Oklahoma District Attorneys Council
Primary Activities: Through the Oklahoma John R. Justice Grant Loan Repayment Program, the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council (DAC) seeks to (1) increase the number of quality young lawyers entering into a career as either a prosecutor or public defender, and (2) increase the retention of experienced prosecutors and public defenders.
Proposed Project: Oklahoma will follow a model that centralizes the administration of the program thereby allowing a consistent and standard statewide approach to disseminate JRJ funds. The DAC will partner with the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System (OIDS) to disseminate JRJ outreach materials to eligible prosecutors and public defenders through electronic mail, the internet, the Oklahoma Bar Journal, and the U.S. Postal Service. Eligible applicants will apply directly to the DAC. The Oklahoma JRJ Grant Board will decide which applicants should receive funding. All funding decisions will be based on the program criteria set forth by the Department of Justice and any additional criteria developed by the JRJ Grant Board. As statutorily mandated, the JRJ Grant Board will give priority consideration to the following: 1) applicants who have received repayment benefits during the preceding year; 2) applicants who have completed less than 3 years of the first required period of service; and 3) applicants with the least ability to repay their loans. Additionally, the Board will utilize U.S. Census data to ensure that funding is fairly distributed between Oklahoma’s two major metropolitan areas and the four rural regions established specifically for Oklahoma’s JRJ Program. While Oklahoma does not have a centralized database that tracks the number of prosecutors and public defenders in the state, the DAC estimates that prior to the first distribution of JRJ funds, Oklahoma employed approximately 21 federal public defenders, 87 state public defenders, 225 contract OIDS attorneys, and 266 state prosecutors. Currently, Oklahoma employs approximately 18 federal public defenders, 75 state public defenders, 138 contract OIDS attorneys, and 303 state prosecutors (not including Assistant Attorneys General or tribal prosecutors).