We are the Indigent Defense Research Association. IDRA rhymes with Hydra, to connote an entity that is many-headed, fierce, and hard to kill. We are a virtual, interdisciplinary community of practitioners, researchers, funders, and policy analysts who care about using data to improve public defense.
IDRA has a listserv, monthly conference calls on a wide variety of topics, and an annual gathering as a subcomponent of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) conference.
The listserv has over 240 diverse subscribers including practicing defenders, researchers in academia and government, business people, consultants, and others. People commonly post questions, distribute materials of interest, and engage in debate.
Our members drive the agenda of our monthly conference calls and webinars. Past topics have ranged from the use of new technology to improve public defense to issues involving data capacity in the field to ethical issues raised by empirical research on public defense.
Our Statement of Purpose
The Indigent Defense Research Association is committed to the production and dissemination of high quality empirical research in the field of public defense. We seek to promote the use of research and the scientific method to improve understanding of public defense services. We believe research is a powerful tool, and we are committed both to using it to investigate issues that are of concern to those delivering, and those receiving, defense services, and to placing the tools of research into the hands of those persons themselves. We believe public defense can play a crucial role in the preservation of the rule of law and core constitutional principles including equal protection, due process and the right to counsel, and that neglect of defense services risks injustice and harm. We are committed to the responsible allocation of resources for research, to using our work to bring about needed policy change, and to bringing improvement to defense services for the benefit of the people that they serve.