Each fiscal year, SJI allocates significant financial resources to support its Priority Investment Areas. For FY 2017, the Priority Investment Areas are the following listed below in no specific order.
The Priority Investment Areas are applicable to all grant types (with the exception of the Education Support Program). SJI strongly encourages potential grant applicants to consider projects addressing one or more of these Priority Investment Areas.
Improving language access in the state courts through remote interpretation (outside the courtroom), interpreter certification, courtroom services (plain language forms, websites, etc.)
Promoting court-based self-help centers, online services, and increasing use of technology and other innovative techniques, such as online dispute resolution, to improve access to the courts.
Reengineering to Improve Court Operations
Assisting courts with the process of reengineering, regionalization or centralization of services, structural changes, and reducing cost to taxpayers while providing access to justice.
Supporting the innovative use of technology to improve the business operations of courts and enhanced services outside the courtroom. This includes videoconferencing, online access, educational services, and remote court proceedings.
Through the Human Trafficking and the State Courts Collaborative, addressing the impact of federal and state human trafficking laws on the state courts, and the challenges faced by state courts in dealing with cases involving trafficking victims and their families.
Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Elder Issues
Assisting courts in improving oversight of guardians/conservators to prevent fraud of the elderly and the incapacitated, to include establishing court visitor programs, electronic reporting and monitoring, and guardian training.
Innovative projects that have no other existing or potential funding sources (federal, state, or private) that will advance best practices in handling dependency and delinquency cases; promote effective court oversight of juveniles in the justice system; address the impact of trauma on juvenile behavior; assist the courts in identification of appropriate provision of services for juveniles; and address juvenile re-entry.
Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices
Assisting state courts in taking a leadership role in reviewing fines, fees, and bail practices to ensure processes are fair and access to justice is assured; implementing alternative forms of sanction; developing processes for indigency review; and transparency, governance, and structural reforms that promote access to justice, accountability, and oversight. Projects that address this Priority Investment Area will inform the work of the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators (CCJ/COSCA) National Task Force on Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices.