The SJI Board of Directors met virtually on December 6, 2021 to make decisions on quarterly grant applications, and approved a total of 11 new grants.
Five (5) Strategic Initiatives Grants were awarded: 1) the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to support Phase III of the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators (CCJ/COSCA) Pandemic Rapid Response Team (RRT). The RRT will work with NCSC in Phase III on the transition to implementation of the innovative strategies courts have used to operate during COVID-19. This is in addition to support that SJI provided to 12 projects that are assisting state and local courts in their response to, and recovery from, COVID-19, with a look towards the future of court operations; 2) the NCSC to support the CCJ/COSCA Leveling of the Scales of Justice initiative. The initiative will create a set of practical, evidence-based tools and recommended processes as an Action Blueprint for Racial Justice. With SJI support in FY 2021, work on the Blueprint commenced with the development, testing, and future dissemination of a comprehensive, research-informed, data-driven organizational assessment tool that will enable judicial leaders to determine how best to ensure racial and ethnic fairness in their courts; 3) The NCSC and Rulo Strategies to support Phase II of the Rural Justice Collaborative (RJC). The Collaborative provides direct technical assistance to rural communities and stakeholders, and is supported by a cross-sector advisory council composed of rural judges from across the United States, along with additional stakeholders in the justice, child welfare, and behavioral health systems. . In Phase II, the RJC will provide technical assistance to up to thirty communities with a focus on justice stakeholders; 4) Policy Research Associates (PRA) to examine the scope, mechanisms, and effectiveness of strategies and approaches that civil and criminal courts are using to provide non-legal aid to help people with unmet needs better navigate the court system, and have their needs identified and addressed; and 5) support to the Cady Family Initiative, along with experts in trauma-informed technology approaches in family law, experts from Indiana and Stanford Universities, representatives of court case management systems, developers of protection order portals, and online dispute resolution providers to prototype a triage process that identifies risk and the services needed to resolve family cases.
Two (2) Project Grants were awarded: 1) The National Association for Court Management (NACM) to: develop and deliver nationally significant educational programs, related material, and curriculum with continued focus on SJI Priority Investment Areas and the NACM Core®; and continue distant learning opportunities to broaden the scope and delivery of educational opportunities available in a convenient and flexible method accessed by judges, court managers, administrators, and other judicial branch employees to include many of NACM’s justice partners; 2) the New York Unified Court System to develop and implement a mandatory, comprehensive, and sustainable racial bias, cultural awareness, and procedural justice education and training program for all judges and court staff. The project will include an evaluation of the impact this training has on judges, staff, and court culture.
Four (4) Technical Assistance Grants were awarded:. 1) the Wyoming Judicial Branch for a compensation/salary assessment, review human resources policies, practices, and rules related to employee compensation; and development of a new pay schedule/pay grades; 2) the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida to plan the development of a solution for Self-Represented Litigants that provides interactive engagements with the Court’s website and physical locations; 3) the Yavapai County, Arizona, Superior Court to enable the Court’s leadership, in collaboration with community and justice system partners, to reimagine and transform how court services are delivered, and develop a roadmap and strategies for making continued improvements; and 4) the Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator to improve civil court processes and procedures by identifying patterns and themes of data entry errors related to case status.
The next deadline for grant applications is February 1, 2022.