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Announcing the publication of "New Developments in Public Defense Research," a special issue of Criminal Justice Policy Review.

IDRA is delighted to announce the publication of its third collection of original empirical research into indigent defense systems. Titled New Developments in Public Defense Research, the volume appears in the June, 2020, issue of Criminal Justice Policy Review. It is co-edited by Dr. Andrew Davies (Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, Southern Methodist University) and Professor Janet Moore (University of Cincinnati College of Law). In 2015, Davies and Moore founded the Indigent Defense Research Association to promote research into the improvement of these systems.

“Scientific study of indigent defense has the potential to improve and advance these services which are so critical to our criminal legal system,” said Davies. “As far as we know, this is the first volume of a peer-reviewed academic journal that has ever been dedicated exclusively to indigent defense.”

Added Moore, “Empirical research on public defense has an especially important role to play in a time of renewed public concern over the influence of race and socioeconomic class upon the exercise of state power through criminal legal systems."

The volume features seven original papers and an introduction by Moore and Davies. Three papers focus on ‘system interventions’ to improve legal defense for the criminally accused. The first investigates the impact of using defense lawyers as a bridge to social work services, while the second looks at the difference made when lawyers are present when a judge first decides whether to hold someone in jail. The third looks at laws restricting the information defense lawyers can use about their clients’ 'capacity for growth, self-improvement, and redemption' when arguing for a lower sentence.

The other four papers examine ‘decision-makers’ in indigent defense. Two investigate public defenders themselves, asking why they decide to stay in such stressful jobs, and how they would make use of new funds to improve the services they provide. Another looks at how justice officials decide how to handle resentencing juveniles whose life sentences were found to be illegal, and the fourth looks at criminal defendants themselves, and how they make key decisions in their own cases.

Davies and Moore have issued a ‘call for papers’ for another volume in the journal Justice System Journal expected to be published in 2021. It can be found here. They have previously collaborated on two other volumes of research in the Albany Law Review and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

The Criminal Justice Policy Review volume can be found here: Any questions or requests for information may be directed to Dr. Andrew Davies at