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Language Access in the Courts and Law Enforcement

Published in the Winter 2008 Journal of the Management Information Exchange, this article discusses national and local advocacy efforts, and work that has been done with law enforcement, to improve language access throughout the justice system.

  • Laura Abel
Published: February 24, 2009

Access to the courts and law enforcement can be frustratingly elusive for individuals with LEP. The inability to report a crime or seek remedies in court can have tremendous adverse effects on the lives of LEP clients.  The consequences are distressing, resulting in many LEP individuals unable to seek safety and protection from crime, provide critical testimony as victims or witnesses, and assert critical rights if arrested or detained. They are also unable to effectively advance or defend claims, even when they are being denied essential wages, resisting unfair debt collections, obtaining domestic violence restraining orders, fighting for custody of their children, disputing the cut-off of subsistence level welfare payments, or facing eviction from their homes. One result is havoc in their lives and those of their families. Another is that in far too many cases our justice system fails to administer justice.

To read the full article, published in the Winter 2008 Journal of the Management Information Exchange, click here