Indigent defense crisis confronts state lawmakers

Efforts to shore-up public defense have already commenced in some states, but the problem may be reaching a tipping point elsewhere.
The Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Lawmakers are under pressure to address a crisis in indigent defense services, with attorneys in multiple states sounding the alarm over low pay, heavy caseloads and workforce shortages.

Advocates for reform gained fresh ammunition this month with a highly anticipated RAND Corporation study that recommended new standards for how many cases public defense attorneys handle per year.

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