TTA Today Blog Archive

Welcome to BJA NTTAC's TTA Today blog! TTA Today posts tell the story of training and technical assistance (TTA) engagements through individual perspectives, including those of DOJ and BJA leaders, staff, technical assistance providers, subject matter experts, community members, and other relevant stakeholders. These posts serve as an informal venue to share relevant updates or best practices from the criminal justice community, as well as to feature first-hand accounts of how TTA impacts state, local, and tribal communities across the nation.

By: Kim Ball, BJA Policy Advisor Last year, our nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright (1963). This case unanimously established that the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that states appoint lawyers for those accused of a crime that carries a potential loss of liberty who cannot afford to hire an attorney. In the years since Gideon, state governments and policymakers have struggled with finding the most effective ways to make their courts fair, promote public safety and fiscal responsibility, and ensure quality representation for all defendants at every stage of a criminal proceeding. Last year, to help state policymakers and legislators evaluate their public defense services, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) committed $90,000 to technical assistance to help several states meet their constitutional obligations to provide quality legal representation for all defendants.
By: Suzette McLeod, BJA NTTAC Deputy Program Director The fundamental message behind the adage “two minds are better than one” is that the collective efforts of a group can achieve more than one person working independently. When people with similar interests or common goals get together to exchange information and ideas, the group is more knowledgeable and better equipped to achieve their goals. To support collective knowledge-sharing and collaboration among its training and technical assistance (TTA) providers, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) is establishing Communities of Interest to provide a way to connect providers that share common focus areas.

By: Julie McGregor, BJA NTTAC Director of Communications In a time when many criminal justice agencies are asked to do more with shrinking budgets and limited resources, it’s important that they to know how to locate available resources to make smart, cost-effective decisions while promoting public safety. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) is committed to being responsive to the emerging needs of the criminal justice field by bridging the gap between communities in need and available training and technical assistance (TTA) resources. To fulfill this goal, BJA NTTAC has identified four new TTA initiatives, including the Crime Analysis on Demand TTA program. Through crime analysis on demand, BJA NTTAC will offer law enforcement agencies TTA resources to enhance their capabilities to analyze and use data to make informed decisions to prevent and effectively respond to crime. This includes conducting needs assessments, providing recommendations to address analytical gaps, and offering comprehensive training for crime analysts.

By: Kim Ball, BJA Senior Policy Advisor “One of the coolest ideas I have seen in my eight years in the Bureau of Justice Assistance,” is the first response that comes to mind when asked about my involvement with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) Innovations in Criminal Justice Summit. I have seen a lot of great progress and great work over my time, but the unique thing about this event is that I have witnessed its evolution – from an idea that was tossed out during a discussion with colleagues to execution of the second Summit in 2013. When APA Vice-President Steven Jansen conceived the idea for this event, we all knew that it was exactly what we needed to do to encourage those innovative, cost-effective interventions that had demonstrated promise in improving public safety and providing alternatives to incarceration.

By: Eva Bertone McGann, BJA NTTAC On March 18, 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a landmark decision that constituted a critical step forward in our nation’s relentless pursuit of equality and justice for all. The decision made in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright unanimously established the right to counsel for those who could not afford to hire an attorney. Fifty years later, professionals and leaders from across the criminal justice community honored this historical ruling by participating in events such as American University’s 50th Anniversary Symposium or the Department of Justice (DOJ) 50th Anniversary Celebration.

By: Kelly Sullivan, BJA NTTAC Communications Specialist

Often when we think of those who risk their lives and wellbeing to protect our safety, it is soldiers, police officers, or firefighters who jump readily to our minds. Albeit brave and deserving of our respect, these are not the only courageous souls who put themselves at risk to protect the public. Corrections officers are the “silent guardians” who have one of the most psychologically, emotionally, and physically taxing jobs out there, all the while receiving little appreciation for their dedication.

Welcome to TTA Today, the new and official blog of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC). In the weeks and months ahead, through this blog, we will feature first-person accounts of how the assistance provided by NTTAC and its partners impacts state, local, and tribal communities across the nation. These posts will be written by leaders from engaged communities, providers of training and technical assistance (TTA), and policy makers here at BJA.