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Rhode Island Public Defender Caseload Reduction Project

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $149,636)

This program is funded under both the Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program (Byrne Competitive Program) and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. Authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2009 (Pub. L. 111-8), the Byrne Competitive Program helps local communities improve the capacity of state and local justice systems and provides for national support efforts including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. The JAG Program (42 U.S.C. 3751(a)) is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, and JAG funds support all components of the criminal justice system. The JAG Program authorization also provides that 'the Attorney General may reserve not more than 5 percent, to be granted to 1 or more states or units of local government for 1 or more of the purposes specified in section 3751 of this title, pursuant to his determination that the same is necessary ' (1) to combat, address, or otherwise respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime.' (42 U.S.C. 3756).

The National Initiatives: Adjudication program, administered by the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), helps improve criminal justice systems, in particular indigent defense, community prosecution, and addressing the 'CSI effect' hypothesis by providing national programs/efforts, such as training and technical assistance, to address the needs of state and local justice systems and communities.

The Office of the Public Defender, Rhode Island will address the stress of large caseloads on public defense offices and the impact it has on the quality of representation. In order to address the large caseloads in their public defender office, Office of the Public Defender, Rhode Island will hire and sustain trained public defenders that will assist with quality representation and alleviate case backlogs. The goals of the project are to reduce currently excessive caseloads of public defenders and improve the efficiency and speed of criminal case processing. The project attorney will be assigned to judicial screening calendars, complying with court protocols.


Date Created: September 22, 2009