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Justice Programs Office

The Justice Programs Office supports SPA's mission of applying the tools of scholarship and professionalism to the design and management of public programs in law and criminal justice.

Message from the Director

Happy New Year from all of us at the Justice Programs Office (JPO). As I look back on 2017, I cannot help but be proud of all that JPO, with its partners and the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University, accomplished. I am confident that we will continue to build on these achievements in 2018.

As many of you know, I recently transitioned from a 15-year career at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to American University. As my first year at JPO wound down this fall, I reflected fondly on the path that lead me to JPO, starting with being a prosecutor in Arkansas to working on civil rights issues at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and, most recently, on the policy work I led at DOJ that has provided the basis for many of the current reforms we see now. Each job I have held has impacted my vision of justice and the frameworks I apply to implementing sustainable criminal justice policies that promote the values of fairness, human dignity, and collaboration.
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Responding to the Opioid Crisis: National and Local Approaches

Were you able to join JPO's National Drug Court Resource Center in January for our webinar on federal and local strategies to address the opioid crisis through treatment courts? If not, you still can. The webinar is now available on our YouTube page.

This important discussion on the devastating effects of opioids in our community brought together policy experts and practitioners from across the United States to discuss Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) initiatives and how to create programs and leverage resources in response to the crisis.

Watch again or watch it for the first time to hear from:

  • Steve Collins, Senior Program Associate, Justice Programs Office
  • Greg Torain, Drug Court Policy Advisor, BJA
  • Tim Jeffries, Senior Policy Advisor for Drug Policy for BJA
  • Emil Affsa, Statewide TASC (Treatment Assessment Services for the Courts) Coordinator for the Judiciary of the State of New Jersey
  • Jayne Cavanaugh, Statewide TASC Coordinator for the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Hon. Craig Hannah, Buffalo City Court, New York
  • Jeff Smith, Project Director, 8th Judicial District, New York

Watch the webinar

JPO Blog

Supporting Treatment Courts Over the Years

I am tasked with surveying women who are participants in a family treatment court. The survey questionnaire is lengthy and may seem daunting in paper form, so I've been instructed to administer it in person.

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Justice for All Reauthorization Act and Supporting Public Defense Webinar

Please join the Justice Programs Office and the National Criminal Justice Association for this upcoming webinar. Registration is required for this event.

Register Now

JPO in the News

  • Director Kim Ball and Associate Director Tracy Velázquez sat down with Social Work Today to discuss veterans treatment courts (VTCs) and the results of a JPO report on the range of policies, practices, and services in VTC programs across the country. Read more.

  • The Atlantic interviewed Senior Policy Counsel Zoë Root about the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and how in many jurisdictions, defendants aren't getting legal representation the first time they go to court.