Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced a total of $6.7 million in grants to state and local criminal and civil legal services organizations across the country that provide legal defense services for the poor. The non-profit organization of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jon Rapping was one of the organizations chosen to receive a grant.
Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit organization that partners with public defender offices to build a community of attorneys committed to indigent defense reform,was awarded $1 million. The funds will provide 25 new attorneys, including criminal defense lawyers working on tribal lands; establish training and leadership development for public defender trainers and supervisors and a semi-annual leadership summit for chief defenders; and create an advisory council to test measures and indicators showing the outcomes of providing effective counsel for all individuals.
These grants from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) are part of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to improve indigent defense, which is often underfunded and understaffed, and to support training, mentoring, technical assistance, leadership development and research to enhance the effectiveness of adult, juvenile and tribal indigent defense practices.
Professor Rapping feels that the grant is another indicator of the type of education students can receive by enrolling in the law school’s J.D. Honors Program in Criminal Justice. He said, “through the Honors Program in Criminal Justice, our students are getting the kind of preparation for careers in criminal justice that the Department of Justice recognizes is critical. Three of our Honors Program faculty (Professors Rapping, Fulcher, and Saviello) are also core members of this organization that the Department of Justice is investing in as a real solution to the criminal justice crisis we face.”
For more information on the other organizations chosen to receive grants, click here.