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Criminal Court Communication Improvement Project

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $448,000)

The National Initiatives: Improving Criminal Courts program is funded under both the Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program (Byrne Competitive Program). Authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117), the Byrne Competitive Program, among other purposes, provides assistance in improving the functioning of criminal justice systems by helping states and local communities improve the capacity of state, local, and tribal justice systems and provides for national support efforts including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. The National Initiatives: Improving Criminal Courts program, administered by the Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance, helps improve criminal justice systems, in particular training for leader judges and improving court communications by providing national programs/efforts, such as training and technical assistance, to address the needs of state, local, and tribal criminal justice systems and communities. The FY 2010 program will focus on funding efforts in two major categories, both of which are national initiatives.

The Fund for the City of New York, Center for Court Innovation (CCI) in partnership with National Judicial College (NJC) will use the federal funds to enhance perceptions of fairness and trust in the justice process by improving the oral and written communication used by all of the major players in criminal courts. CCI/NJC will convene a working group of practitioners and scholars charged with identifying obstacles to a more user-friendly courtroom communication style; develop a training curriculum on effective courtroom communication that could be used nationwide by judges, attorneys, and other courtroom actors; pilot the training and a communications overhaul at a demonstration site, to be selected in consultation with a working group; and conduct a rigorous quasi-experimental evaluation to test the impact of the pilot project and produce important lessons for the field.


Date Created: September 19, 2010