July 2012

Press Release

The Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc.

July 31, 2012

The Foundation for Improvement of Justice announces this year’s Paul H. Chapman Award Winners:

National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) Team of Washington, DC. NamUs is the first national online searchable database of available information on missing persons and unidentified human remains. It is accessible to the general public as well as law enforcement, medical examiners, and coroners. It has contributed to the resolution of numerous missing person and unidentified remains cases since it became fully operational in 2009.

Florida Bar Foundation of Orlando, FL is recognized for its innovative and influential models and programs to help improve the civil and criminal justice systems throughout Florida and the nation and its commitment to ensuring justice for all. It was the first organization in the nation to implement the Interest on Trust Accounts program and has distributed more than $293 million over the past 27 years from IOTA accounts to provide chiefly civil legal services for the poor in Florida.

Hope House of Washington, DC is recognized for creating programs that strengthen bonds between fathers in prisons far from home and their families by hosting free, week long summer camps for children where they spend several hours each day inside the prison bonding with their fathers through art, activities and sports. Studies show that prisoners who remain in contact with their families while incarcerated have a lower recidivism rate. In addition they have found significantly less misconduct among prisoners who participate in the Hope House program than a matched control group.

National Crime Victim Law Institute of Portland, OR is recognized for advancing the rights of crime victims on a national level through litigation, education and advocating for public policy reform. Over the past 10 years they have launched 12 pro bono legal clinics providing nationwide training on the “how to” of victims’ rights enforcement. The clinics have raised awareness of victims’ rights with prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys and police officials.

National Immigrant Justice Center of Chicago, IL is recognized for its work over the past 30 years, providing comprehensive legal services to ensure fair and humane treatment for asylum seekers while setting national precedents for protecting human rights within U.S. borders. They have developed a pro bono network of more than 1,000 attorneys.
Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center of Upper Marlboro, MD is recognized for pioneering the legal representation of crime victims in the state of Maryland by helping to pass more than 80 pieces of state legislation including a state constitutional amendment for crime victims’ rights. It is Maryland’s only statewide non-profit agency providing free, comprehensive support services to all victims of all types of crimes.

The Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1984 for the purpose of improving local, state, and federal systems of justice within The United States of America. Each year, the Foundation accepts nominations for the Paul H. Chapman award to recognize and reward individuals or organizations whose innovative programs and work have made improvements in the various systems of justice. Winners receive a check for $10,000, the Paul H. Chapman medal, a Commendation Bar Pin, a certificate of appreciation, and an invitation to an awards banquet held in Atlanta, Georgia.