Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bureau of Justice Assistance


I spent yesterday in Washington D.C. The day started with a photo shoot for Government Executive magazine, which is doing a story on both problem-solving courts and our failure inquiry (the piece should be out in May -- I'll let you know).

The rest of the day was spent at the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is the arm of the US Department of Justice that administers grants for national training and technical assistance (among other things). BJA is one of our key institutional partners, and has been for more than a decade now. Our big project with them at the moment is an upcoming roundtable that we are organizing that will bring together states (including New York) that are working on statewide administration of problem-solving courts to share ideas and brainstorm solutions to common problems. To my knowledge, it will be the first gathering of its kind ever.

While I was in DC, I also did a lot of listening, trying to get a sense of the federal funding scene. In terms of our narrow parochial interest -- money for justice innovation -- the news out of DC is not good these days, I must say. As anyone who reads a newspaper knows, the economy is not in good shape. Plus there is a war going on that requires an enormous amount of funding. Plus there is a big fight between the executive branch and the legislative branch over earmarks. Plus it is an election year, which further muddies the waters. It all adds up to a time of transition and uncertainty.