Some of you may have noticed that Americorps is one of the programs being targeted in the House budget (NYT). You may not be aware that Justice Corps is funded through the Americorps budget.
Justice Corps is one of the most innovative programs in the access to justice field. It relies both on Americorps funding and on the overall model. Here is the link on the California Courts website about the program in California. The program takes college students, trains them, and then has them help people in self-elp centers. As described on the site:
The JusticeCorps program is an innovative approach to solving one of the more pressing issues faced by courts around the country today: providing equal access to justice. JusticeCorps recruits and trains 250 diverse university students annually to serve in overburdened legal self-help centers throughout California. First launched as a pilot program in Los Angeles County in 2004, JusticeCorps expanded to the Bay Area in fall 2006, to San Diego in fall 2007, and to the Sacramento Capitol Region in fall 2010. Minimum-time members commit to serving a minimum of 300 hours during an academic year in self-help centers. In return, they receive approximately 30 hours of training as well as a $1,132 education award when they complete the program. The program also offers a select number of full-time service opportunities in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and San Diego. Full-time members serve 1,700 hours and receive a $20,000 living allowance dispensed throughout their one-year term of service, as well as a $5,350 education award.
It is not just that this helps the individual litigants, but it makes many of the students interested in court administration careers. Perhaps most important, the concept has the potential to create a network of young court innovators around the county.