Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Frequently Asked Questions

If a state or territory, including the District of Columbia, does not have public defenders who are eligible, as defined by the statute, to apply for John R. Justice (JRJ) funds, is such state still eligible to administer the JRJ grant program?

A state or territory, including the District of Columbia, without eligible public defenders may still apply for JRJ funding. If a state does not have eligible "public defenders" (as defined by the JRJ statute) that state’s loan repayment disbursements will go to state and local prosecutors, by default. Please note that such practice is a technical violation of the JRJ Program's "equal allocation" requirement.

States should note, however, that certain federal public defenders are eligible beneficiaries under the JRJ statute. Every state has full-time federal public defenders who practice within that state. Thus, the absence of eligible state or local "public defenders" will not, in and of itself, absolve the state from meeting the equal allocation requirement.

As described in the JRJ solicitation, in order to waive the equal allocation requirement, a state will need to submit a waiver request with its application. To be considered, such waiver request must document the structure of the state's public defender system and clearly outline why it will be unable to meet the "equal allocation" requirement. Requests for waivers of this requirement will be granted only at the discretion of the BJA Director.

As of 4/3/2018

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