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Since the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Justice has both funded and authored a variety of studies and reports relevant to the provision of indigent defense services. Where possible, links to the reports have been included and more will come on line in the coming months. As we work to make this a comprehensive bibliography of indigent defense materials authored or funded by the Department, please contact the Access to Justice Initiative at 202-514-5312 about any appropriate publications that may be missing from this list.

Title  Sorted Descending Author Not Sorted Year Funded By Not Sorted Description
Working Paper: How Much Difference Does the Lawyer Make? The Effect of Defense Counsel on Murder Case Outcomes James M. Anderson and Paul Heaton (RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment) 2011 National Institute of Justice This Philadelphia study finds that appointed counsel, public defenders reduce their clients’ murder conviction rate by 19%, lower the probability that their clients receive a life sentence by 62%, and reduce overall expected time served in prison by 24%.
Who’s Better at Defending Criminals? Does Type of Defense Attorney Matter in Terms of Producing Favorable Case Outcomes Thomas H. Cohen 2011 The Bureau of Justice Statistics This paper examines whether there are differences between defense counsel type and the adjudication and sentencing phases of criminal case processing. Results show that private attorneys and public defenders secure similar adjudication and sentencing outcomes for their clients. Defendants with assigned counsel, however, receive less favorable outcomes compared to their counterparts with public defenders. This article concludes by discussing the policy implications of these findings and possible avenues for future research.
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance and American Bar Association, Bar Information Program State Commissions Project: The Year in Review (The Spangenberg Report, Volume VI, Issue 3, Feb. 2001) David J. Carroll (The Spangenberg Group) 2001 Bureau of Justice Assistance This report has articles on individual states' indigent defense efforts, regional developments, and an international perspective. Articles topics include a release of a Texas indigent defense study, DOJ's release of Standards for Indigent Defense Systems, and the Iowa Indigent Defense Advisory Committee
Towards a Prosecutorial and Defense Production Function: Constructing a Measure of Output (NCJ 92952) Edward C. Ratledge (Jefferson Institute for Justice Studies) 1983 National Institute of Justice This publication discusses potential methods for judging the output of prosecutor and public defender offices.
Title: Indigent Defense: DOJ Could Increase Awareness of Eligible Funding and Better Determine the Extent to Which Funds Help Support This Purpose (NCJ 238757) The Government Accountability Office 2012 The Government Accountability Office This report addresses, for fiscal years 2005 through 2010, the (1) types of support DOJ provided for indigent defense; (2) extent to which eligible DOJ funding was allocated or awarded for indigent defense, the factors affecting these decisions, and DOJ’s actions to address them; (3) percentage of DOJ funding allocated for indigent defense and how it was used; (4) extent to which DOJ collects data on indigent defense funding; and (5) extent to which DOJ assesses the impacts of indigent defense grants, indigent defense programs have been evaluated, and DOJ has supported evaluation efforts. (NCJ 238757, May 2012)
The Plight of the Indigent Accused in America - An Examination of Alternative Models for Providing Criminal Defense Services to the Poor: Executive Summary (NCJ 98678); Volume I - Complete Descriptive Report (NCJ 98679); Volume II - Policy-Makers' Report (NCJ 98680); Volume III – Report of Methodology (NCJ 98681) Nancy Albert-Goldberg, Marshall J. Hartman, William J. Obrien, Pauline Houlden, and Steven Balkin (National Defender Institute) 1981 National Institute of Justice This report presents the findings, conclusions, and policy implications of the study of the Role of Private Counsel in Indigent Defense. The study provides practical information on the benefits, limitations, and costs of traditional assigned counsel programs and alternative programs
The Implementation and Impact of Indigent Defense Standards (NCJ 205023) Scott Wallace and David Carroll (National Legal Aid & Defender Association) 2003 National Institute of Justice This report discusses the impact of indigent defense standards in assessing the need for standardization of this constitutionally mandated governmental service.
The Fair Defense Report: Findings and Recommendations on Indigent Defense Practices in Texas Texas Appleseed Fair Defense Project 2000 Bureau of Justice Assistance This study of county-level indigent defense practices in Texas compares and evaluates the many different indigent defense systems across the state, to reveal their structural weaknesses and identify their strengths.
The Executive Session on Public Defense, Bulletin #3: Cultural Revolution: Transforming the Public Defender’s Office (NCJ 193773) Robin Steinberg and David Feige (Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government) 2002 Bureau of Justice Assistance This bulletin discusses basic values of the public defender culture in order to create a desire to re-evaluate these values and provide a set of concrete suggestions by which public defender managers can make an office model more holistic.
The Executive Session on Public Defense, Bulletin #2: What Policymakers Need To Know To Improve Public Defense Systems (NCJ 190725) Tony Fabelo (Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government) 2001 Bureau of Justice Assistance This paper is one in a series of papers developed by the Executive Session on Public Defense, a 30-member effort with leading figures in public defense. It sets out questions to aid policymakers in assessing the value and effectiveness of their public defense systems.