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Overview of the Bureau of Justice Assistance's Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance Program and Resources

NCJ Number
Tina M. Farrenkopf, J.D., M.B.A.; Catherine Bryan, J.D., M.A.
Date Published
March 2013
6 pages
This publication presents an overview of the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance's (BJA's) Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance Program (TCCLA).
This overview identifies resources and eligibility guidelines for tribes seeking to obtain or provide civil and criminal legal assistance for their communities; explores strategies for sustaining programs; and outlines several promising practices for the provision of indigent legal assistance to tribal communities. Funding is available for tribal civil and criminal legal assistance programs from both public and private sectors. Two tables are included to highlight Federal funding research, BJA-specific funding for TCCLA Programs, and private-sector resources. BJA-funded training and technical assistance (TTA) efforts are designed to assist grantees and tribes in developing tools that support the development and improvement of tribal justice systems. In addition to BJA, other TTA providers are listed and briefly described. The TCCLA legislation limits funding for the direct civil and criminal legal services to nonprofit public charities (tribal and non-tribal). They must be willing and able to provide legal assistance services for federally recognized Indian tribes, members of federally recognized Indian tribes, or tribal justice systems pursuant to Federal poverty guidelines. In order to facilitate the continuation of funded programs, the Justice Department provides discretionary, short-term funding to assist in planning, developing, and improving programs with a view toward a long-term plan for making programs sustainable beyond the funding periods. Three examples are provided of programs that have used the aforementioned concepts to ensure that they can meet the legal assistance/public defense needs of their low-income community members through the use of strategic collaborations and partnerships. 7 tables