Five Elements Contributing to Inadequate Indigent Defense, and Recommendations to Improve Resource Parity
Date:  09-10-2019

A Fair Fight calls for achieving indigent defense resource parity
From Brennan Center for Justice:

Providing better indigent defense does not always mean spending more money. State indigent defense systems are often structured in extremely inefficient ways that cost states more than necessary and lead to worse outcomes for people accused of crimes. Restructuring for those jurisdictions may require an up-front investment but can lead to savings in the long term.

At the heart of defender resource disparity is the chronic underfunding of indigent defense — a phenomenon that is widespread and well-documented. But fixing the problem will require more than simply increasing funding, and the question demands thinking broadly about the many issues that drive it. This report identifies five key challenges that contribute to defender resource disparity:

  • Improperly structured indigent defense systems

  • Unsustainable workloads

  • Defender-prosecutor salary disparity

  • Insufficient support staff

  • Disparate federal funding as compared to law enforcement

    Continue to the full report here.