Court Staffing and Funding

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    National Public Defense Workload Study

    When public defenders have excessive workloads, they are forced to prioritize some cases over others. This inevitably causes harm. How might caseload limits help these lawyers better serve their clients—and help the justice system better serve all those who rely on it?

    Jul 27, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Taiwan, Gun Violence, Fishing in the Arctic: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the potential for a Chinese attack on Taiwan, America's persistent gun violence problem, managing Arctic fisheries, and more.

    Jul 7, 2023

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    Research Brief

    The Impact of Defense Counsel at Bail Hearings

    Roughly half of U.S. counties do not provide defense counsel at bail hearings. An experiment shows that providing counsel can decrease the use of monetary bail and pretrial detention. But having a public defender at the bail hearing did result in a short-term increase in rearrests on theft charges.

    Jun 30, 2023

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    Journal Article

    The Impact of Defense Counsel at Bail Hearings

    Roughly half of U.S. counties do not provide defense counsel at bail hearings, and few studies have documented the potential impacts of legal representation at this stage.

    May 11, 2023

  • A lawyer and defendant in the courtroom, photo by gorodenkoff/Getty Images

    News Release

    Providing Legal Counsel at Initial Bail Hearings Reduces Use of Cash Bail, Lowers Incarceration

    Providing defendants with legal counsel during their initial bail hearing decreases use of monetary bail and pretrial detention, without increasing the likelihood that defendants fail to appear at the subsequent preliminary hearing.

    May 5, 2023

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    Empowerment-Based Domestic Violence Programming Within a Family Court Setting: An Implementation Guide

    This guide supports the implementation of an empowerment-based domestic violence program within a family court setting. It was developed to share the best practices learned during an evaluation of the Safe Horizon Family Court organization.

    Jan 6, 2022

  • Infographic


    Empowering Domestic Violence Survivors Within the Family Courts

    This infographic accompanies a tool that supports the implementation of an empowerment-based domestic violence program within a family court setting.

    Jan 6, 2022

  • A lawyer working on a computer with files and a pair of glasses nearby. Photo by Tero Vesalainen / Getty Images


    Prosecutor Priorities, Challenges, and Solutions

    What are the most pressing challenges that prosecutors face today? What solutions could help mitigate some of these challenges? An expert panel identified priority needs and solutions for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the prosecutorial component of the criminal justice system.

    Apr 18, 2019

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    Discount Justice: State Court Belt-Tightening in an Era of Fiscal Austerity

    Following the 2008 financial crisis, fiscal pressure on the states has led to corresponding pressure for court system retrenchment. In January 2015, the UCLA–RAND Center for Law and Public Policy held a conference to examine the depth of the resourcing problem and identify policy options and practical steps to mitigate the challenges.

    May 26, 2017

  • Empty courtroom with scales of justice


    Discount Justice: Fiscal Austerity and State Courts

    Budget cuts at the state court level can mean courthouse closures, hiring freezes and layoffs, leading to longer wait times for the public. Educating the public about the role and importance of the state courts is key to preventing more budget cuts in the future.

    Apr 18, 2017

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    Courts Innovation Needs Tool

    Using information drawn from the report findings, this interactive tool for ranking court innovation needs allows users to re-prioritize the needs, based on their own views of the importance of different court system policy goals.

    Jul 22, 2016

  • A keyboard with a justice button and U.S. flag


    Fostering Innovation in the U.S. Court System

    The court system needs to adapt to today's challenges and respond to new opportunities. Identifying high-priority needs provides a menu of innovation options for addressing key problems or capitalizing on emerging opportunities.

    May 10, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Fixing Judicial Recusals

    If judges or justices own stock in the company of a litigant, they must recuse themselves from hearing the case.

    Mar 16, 2016

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    Digital Evidence and the U.S. Criminal Justice System

    There are significant challenges to successfully using digital evidence in criminal prosecutions. Through structured interaction with police digital forensic experts, prosecuting attorneys, a privacy advocate, and industry representatives, researchers identified and prioritized specific needs to improve utilization of digital evidence in criminal justice.

    Apr 20, 2015

  • Tool

    Interactive Tool for Ranking Digital Evidence Needs

    This tool presents the prioritized needs related to digital evidence collection, management, analysis, and use and allows the user to see how their priorities would change when the importance of different digital evidence objectives are changed.

    Apr 20, 2015

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    Who Pays for Justice? Perspectives on State Court System Financing and Governance

    RAND Corporation researchers surveyed experts from five states that use a variety of approaches to funding state court systems to assess financing, accounting, and governance issues under various systems.

    Apr 30, 2014

  • Report


    An Assessment of Program Sustainability in Three Bureau of Justice Assistance Criminal Justice Domains

    Some Bureau of Justice Assistance programs sustain operations or funding after initial funding ends. This report outlines strategies for helping programs sustain themselves and recommends a plan for ongoing measurement of sustainability.

    Apr 21, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    How Much Should Judges Be Paid? An Empirical Study on the Effect of Judicial Pay on the State Bench

    Judicial salaries have a small but significant effect on the likelihood of exit and thus the length of judicial tenure, and a small effect on the background of judges that join the appellate bench.

    May 1, 2012

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    How Did the Financial Crisis Affect the U.S. Civil Justice System?

    A preliminary assessment of the impact of the financial crisis on the civil justice system finds that litigation demands on some parts of the system have increased, that funding for state courts may be trending downward, and that there have been disruptions in the legal services economy, in the provision of legal aid, and in the operation and staffing of courts.

    Mar 5, 2012

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    Case Weights for Federal Defender Organizations

    This report presents a system of case weights for estimating the funding and staffing requirements of federal defender organizations, discusses factors that might influence defender time expenditures, and describes how such weights should be used.

    Aug 18, 2011