Digitizing State Courts, Expanding Access to Justice
Author: Jason Tashea
To overcome the unprecedented backlog of court cases created by the pandemic, courts must be reimagined. Rather than strictly brick-and-mortar operations, court must consider themselves digital platforms. To accomplish this, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)—with support from 18F, U.S. Digital Service, the Legal Services Corporation, and the State Justice Institute—must build and fund professional and technical capacity at the state level to develop and adopt standardized digital infrastructure for courts and other justice agencies. Due to the replicable nature of this solution across states, the federal government is perfectly positioned to lead this effort, which will be more cost effective than if each court system attempted this work on their own. The estimated cost is $1 billion.
This once-in-a-generation investment will allow courts to collect granular, raw data, which can help overcome the current backlog, increase access to the justice system, inform policies that drive down mass incarceration, improve transparency, and seed a public and private revolution in justice technology that improves access to justice for all Americans.
About the Author
Jason Tashea is a policy expert, writer, and entrepreneur focused on how technology impacts the justice system. Currently, he is a product manager at an access-to-justice startup. He previously created and taught a course on criminal justice technology, policy, and law at Georgetown University Law Center and was a staff writer at the American Bar Association Journal, where he focused on technology issues. He is currently a member of the Legal Services Corporation’s Emerging Leaders Council and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers‘ Law Committee. He is also the editor of the Justice Tech Download, a weekly newsletter. His work has been published by the Brookings Institute, the Harvard Shorenstein Center among other academic publications, New America, and Wired.