The National Juvenile Defender Center released a report that appraises the quality of representation in Missouri’s Juvenile courts. The report: “Missouri: Justice Rationed—An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Juvenile Defense Representation in Delinquency Proceedings,” examines teens’ access to certified counsel in Missouri and looks at programs that Missouri Juvenile courts could expand.
The report features ten core recommendations:
- Ensure Timely Appointment of Counsel.
- Reduce Waiver of Counsel.
- Afford Representation at All Critical Stages.
- Allocate Sufficient Resources.
- Strengthen Monitoring and Oversight.
- Establish Data Collection.
- Recognize Juvenile Defense as a Specialized Area of Practice.
- Reduce Youth in the Adult System.
- Adopt Standards of Practice.
- Address the Role of the Deputy Juvenile Officer.
In the report, the National Juvenile Defender center also outlines implementation strategies for the Legislative and Judicial Branches and the Missouri State public Defender. One recommendation includes adequately funding the system of indigent defense to encompass sufficient resources for a strong juvenile defense delivery system as well as conflict attorneys.
Although Missouri has a strong commitment to rehabilitation, teens frequently face criminal charges without appropriate counsel or adequate representation. The National Juvenile Defender Center seeks to provide teens with the resources required to rebuild their lives. With countless Missouri juvenile justice professionals devoting their lives to the teens who go through the system, moving forward is an exciting and encouraging prospect.
Read the report in full here.
Jaclyn Chelf is a Digital and Social Media Intern at Prichard Communications. She is graduating in June, 2013 from the University of Oregon where she had been studying Journalism, Public Relations and Communication studies. She loves warm weather, the outdoors and her dog.
Updated: February 08 2018