The Legislature has directed TIDC to provide technical support to counties to improve their indigent defense systems. To that end, in 2019 TIDC dedicated two full-time attorneys to assist counties in improving their systems.

Contact the team today to learn more about how we can help your county. 





What's new:

December 18, 2019: We're just one month away from the Texas Indigent Defense Workshop! Click here to learn more and register.

December 11-12: Improvement Team members attended the Sequential Intercept Model Train the Trainer. This training will enable Improvement Team members to better address issues for mentally ill defendants in the criminal justice system. 

December 2, 2019: Click here to read this recent fact sheet announcing new funding opportunties for rural counties. 









TIDC’s Improvement Team assists counties in a variety of ways, including: 


Planning Studies

Does your county need a change to its public defense delivery system? A planning study from TIDC outlines the costs and decision points needed to make a change. Planning studies can be provided free of charge to assist counties in establishing public defender offices and managed assigned counsel systems. TIDC now provides 2/3rds ongoing funding for rural regional public defender offices. If you are interested in setting up a rural regional public defender office, staff can visit your county and provide a detailed report on staffing levels and costs.  

See a planning study previously conducted by TIDC staff below:

Technical Assistance

Improvement team members can provide detailed technical assistance to implement new indigent defense programs and processes. For example, staff can arrange for county officials to hear from other jurisdictions about best practices, and arrange for one-on-one training where needed to imprlement new systems. Staff can also create tailored documents, such as this Frequently Asked Questions on Managed Assigned Counsel systems


The Improvement team can provide trainings and presentations on indigent defense topics including timely appointment of counsel, attorney mentoring, and best practices in court processes for judges, court personnel, and attorneys.

To see upcoming trainings, click here. Pictured left is Director of Public Defense Improvement, Scott Ehlers, at the TCDLA Rusty Duncan Criminal Defense conference providing information to attendees about TIDC programs. 






Partnership Programs

TIDC, through the Improvement Team, has partnered with national organizations to bring world-class resources to Texan lawyers. The Future Indigent Defense Leaders Project, which provides professional development for the next generation of Texan defenders, partners TIDC with Gideon's Promise, a nationally recognized training course for new public defenders. 

TIDC will soon launch a training dedicated to juvenile law through the Texas JTIP Project, which will partner TIDC with TCDLA as well as the National Juvenile Defender Center. 

Pictured here is the first cohort of the Future Indigent Defense Leaders Project in Atlanta, Georgia at Gideon's Promise training. 

For more information on mentoring, click here




TIDC has authored several publications to aid counties in improving their programs. These publications are provided free of charge on our website for your use. 

You can find publications on: 

Innovations Series

Texas Mental Health Defender Programs (featured to the left)

Managed Assigned Counsel Primer

Indigent Defense Spending and Cost Containment in Texas

Guidelines for Indigent Defense Caseloads

Click here to see our full catalog.


If you would like the Improvement Team to work on any of the above projects for your county, contact us today!

Scott Ehlers                                                                                    
Director of Public Defense Improvement                               
Sehlers _AT_                                                      

Kathleen Casey-Gamez
Senior Policy Analyst