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NCJ Number: 148616 Find in a Library
Title: Counsel for the Poor: An Evaluation of Contracting for Indigent Criminal Defense
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:10  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1993)  Pages:613-637
Author(s): A P Worden
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 25
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the cost-effectiveness of contract defense services as an alternative to traditional assigned counsel and public defender systems for providing representation to poor people accused of crimes.
Abstract: Contracting has been endorsed by many as a means of conserving public resources while providing experienced counsel; it has also been criticized as a means of ensuring that minimal public investment, and hence minimally qualified representation, is offered to the poor. This study tests the hypothesis that contracting, particularly competitively bid contracting, is less costly than the alternatives, and offers some observations about variation in type of contract and the consequences of this variation for program costs. The analysis used survey data from all felony court jurisdictions in Michigan. Results suggested that competitive bidding is indeed less expensive than the alternatives, but simultaneously raise questions about the implications of this financial advantage for program quality. Findings also suggested that, paradoxically, contracting is adopted in small jurisdictions with bars that cannot support competitive bidding. As a result, these jurisdictions pay a high price for this type of program. Footnotes, tables, 4 case citations, and 36 references
Main Term(s): Court appointed counsel
Index Term(s): Contract defense services; Defender systems; Michigan
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