BJA Conferences and Trainings

Holistic Approach to Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance in Tribal Justice Systems May 27 – 28, 2014 - Marysville, WA  This training, which NAICJA developed with a BJA grant, highlighted successful models that illustrate that various components of a justice system (e.g., codes, court rules, court procedures, legal assistance, corrections, probation, etc.) must be considered as a whole rather than as stand-alone services. The goal of this training was to bring together teams of tribal justice stakeholders from various communities in order to examine and strategize on how criminal and civil legal assistance and access to these services can be provided and improved through a collaborative, holistic approach. The training also highlighted the Tulalip Tribe's justice system and the Salish and Kootenai's Office of Public Defense, and key players from various components of the justice system will serve as panelists. Jurisdictional teams consisting of a tribal judge, prosecutor, tribal attorney general, public defender/legal aid advocate, probation officer, and/or a tribal leader working with the same tribe were encourage to attend together. Individuals without a jurisdictional team were also encouraged to attend. TRADITIONAL PEACEMAKING: Exploring the Intersections between Tribal Courts and Peacemaking, Including Alternatives to Detention October 6-7, 2014 - Tulsa/Catoosa, OK The National American Indian Court Judges Association (NAICJA) and its partners the Native American Rights Fund and Columbia University School of Law, conducted a training titled Traditional Peacemaking: Exploring the Intersections between Tribal Courts and Peacemaking, including Alternatives to Detention. The Bureau of Justice Assistance sponsored training was held on October 6-7, 2014, in Catoosa, OK. The training was attended by 60 participants (18 tribes and 7 non-profits), including two TCCLA Grantees and several Indian Legal Services sub-grantees. The training introduced grantees and other attendees to the various peacemaking models that are being used in tribal courts, including those that are being used as alternatives to detention. The goal of this training was to explore the ways in which tribal courts integrate traditional justice and community values into varied aspects of tribal civil and criminal justice, to provide tips for accessing tribal judicial systems that utilize cultural forms of justice, and to provide explanation of how traditional peacemaking can unlock new approaches to provide effective representation of civil and criminal legal services clients, with special attention criminal defendants whenever appropriate. Panel topics included: Traditional Dispute Resolution as Healing and Growth of Tribal Sovereign Power, Reentry Programs Using Peacemaking/Peacemaking in Correctional Facilities, Preparing the Next Generation of Peacemakers: Academic and Court Training Options, Exploring the Fiscal and Human Costs of Incarceration, Peacemaking from the Bench, Peacemaking Programs at Work in Tribal Nations/Tribal Models, Approaching Culturally Appropriate Justice with Indigent Defendants, Peacemaking from the Ground Up, Sentencing Alternatives, Peacemaking Doesn’t Operate in a Vacuum: The Importance of Context, and Positive Aspects of Peacemaking in Tribal Communities. The plenary and break-out sessions were followed by a group discussion that culminated with the group developing an action plan and suggested next steps. A high level summary will be drafted to inform interested parties of the discussions, recommendations, and action items.