The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is seeking applications for funding to the Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions (ROL/WCR) site-based and training and technical assistance program. This program furthers the Department’s mission by ensuring the fair and consistent application of the rule of law in order to ensure the sustained integrity of the criminal justice system.
The Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions (ROL/WCR) Program is committed to protecting the integrity of the criminal justice system and the consistent application of due process for all. The ROL/WCR Program supports efforts by wrongful conviction review entities (WCR entities) that represent individuals with post-conviction claims of innocence to review individual cases.
The goal of the ROL/WCR program is to enhance the capacity of WCR entities and their criminal justice and victims partners to better identify, assess, and manage post-conviction claims of innocence while translating lessons to prevent error and bring justice for victims
The objectives of the ROL/WCR Program are to:
- Strategically review cases of post-conviction and appeal claims of innocence with a focus on those at greatest risk for error.
- Establish or enhance partnerships, where appropriate, to apply a strategic review of individual post-conviction claims of innocence and appeals, and, where relevant, to use this information to inform efforts to prevent wrongful convictions.
- Identify and apprehend, whenever possible, the actual perpetrator of a crime.
- Evaluate whether or not any systemic issues exist that may compromise the rule of law and recommend practices for mitigating them and preventing wrongful convictions.
With the delivery of national TTA to Category 1 award recipients, the objectives are to:
- Develop and enhance strong partnerships between entities and other criminal justice organizations to effectively implement their projects.
- Develop and implement a wrongful conviction risk assessment process.
- Enhance capacity to identify and review cases of high risk.
- Enhance the expertise of the entities to support quality post-conviction and appeals legal representation in the identified cases.
- Document the efficacy of entities in seeking to overturn challenged convictions.
- Document the efficacy of entities in identifying appropriate suspects when convictions are overturned.
The expected deliverables are to:
- Identify and report the number of post-conviction and appeals claims of innocence cases reviewed and the stage of review conducted for each case.
- Document a systematic review of areas of risk for wrongful conviction, and recommend any strategies to mitigate these risks.
The expected deliverables are:
- Delivery of regional (potentially virtual) training sessions that focus on evaluating, and representing clients in, cases of post-conviction and appeals claims of innocence; and increase the ability and expertise of units to review procedures or systemic issues to determine if they are contributing to wrongful convictions and identify areas of risk and develop risk mitigation strategies. This training should be built upon an assessment of Category 1 award recipients’ capacity and need, and should ensure that all key partners are engaged. The specifics of the training curriculum should be responsive to the needs of the entities. Training and assistance should also be focused on promoting best practices and collaborations between entities and key criminal justice partners. Final topics and method of delivery will be determined by BJA and the selected TTA provider, post award.
- Delivery of ongoing direct technical assistance to entities and partners as they implement their strategies. Capture the assistance provided and the reviews conducted, as well as examine the needs of award recipients.
- Host an online orientation meeting for Category 1 award recipients.
- Identify the needs of Category 1 award recipients, either through a survey or a needs assessment process, to determine their greatest funding, training, and technical assistance needs.
- Work with Category 1 award recipients to track cases reviewed and actual perpetrators identified, as well as to develop potential policies or guidelines.
- Maintain a central online database of materials, including briefs, motions, and expert information needed by lawyers who screen, investigate, and handle potential cases of wrongful conviction.
- Period of Performance Start Date: 10/1/21 12:00 AM
- Period of Performance Duration (Months): 24
- Anticipated Total Amount to be Awarded Under Solicitation:
- Category 1: up to $3,900,000
- Category 2: $450,000
- Maximum dollar amount for each award:
- Category 1: $300,000
- Category 2: $450,000
- Private institutions of higher education
- State governments
- City or township governments
- Special district governments
- Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
- Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
- Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
- Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
- Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
For more information, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=330784