State Justice Institute (SJI) Grants

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    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    B - Readily funds technology as part of an award


    State Justice Institute (SJI)


    SJI was established by federal law in 1984 to improve the quality of justice in State courts, facilitate better coordination between State and Federal courts, and foster innovative, efficient solutions to common issues faced by all courts. To fulfill this mission, SJI awards grants that benefit the nation's judicial system and the public it serves.

    Types of Grants Available:

    • Project Grants: Intended to support innovative education and training, research and evaluation, demonstration, and technical assistance projects that can improve the administration of justice in State courts locally or nationwide.
    • Technical Assistance Grants: Designed to provide State and local courts with funding to obtain expert assistance to diagnose a problem, develop a response to that problem, and initiate implementation of any needed changes. 
    • Curriculum Adaptation and Training (CAT) Grants: Intended to:
      • Enable courts and regional or national court associations to modify and adapt model curricula, course modules, or conference programs to meet States' or local jurisdictions' educational needs; train instructors to present portions or all of the curricula; and pilot-test them to determine their appropriateness, quality and effectiveness; or
      • Conduct judicial branch education and training programs, led by either expert or in-house personnel, designed to prepare judges and court personnel for innovations, reforms, and/or new technologies recently adopted by grantee courts.
    • Strategic Initiatives Grants: Provide SJI the flexibility to address national court issues as they occur, and develop solutions to those problems. This is an innovative approach where SJI uses its expertise and the expertise and knowledge of its grantees to address key issues facing state courts across the United States.
      • The funding is used for grants or contractual services and is handled at the discretion of the SJI Board of Directors and staff.
    • Education Support Program (ESP): Provides tuition assistance for state court judges and court managers. ESP awards are for judges and court managers to attend out-of-state, court-related educational programs within the United States or online court-related educational programs.

    Each fiscal year, SJI allocates significant financial resources to support its Priority Investment Areas. SJI strongly encourages potential grant applicants to consider projects addressing one or more of these Priority Investment Areas. In FY 2023, the Priority Investment Areas are listed below (in no specific order):

    • Opioids and Other Dangerous Drugs, and Behavioral Health Responses—SJI supports cross-sector collaboration and information sharing that emphasizes policies and practices designed to improve court responses to justice-involved persons with behavioral health and other co-occurring needs. SJI also supports trauma-informed training, policies and practices in all aspects of the judicial process
    • Promoting Access to Justice and Procedural Fairness
      • Procedural fariness- SJI promotes the integration of research-based procedural fairness principles, policies, and practices into state court operations to increase public trust and confidence in the court system, reduce recidivism, and increase compliance with court orders. 
      • Self-Represented Litigation- SJI promotes the integration of research-based procedural fairness principles, policies, and practices into state court operations to increase public trust and confidence in the court system, reduce recidivism, and increase compliance with court orders. 
      • Language Access - SJI supports language access in the state courts through remote interpretation (outside the courtroom), interpreter training and certification, courtroom services (plain language forms, websites, etc.), and addressing the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act.
    • Reducing Disparities and Protecting Victims, Underserved, and Vulnerable Populations
      • Disparities in Justice – SJI supports research and data-driven approaches that examine statutory requirements, policies, and practices that result in disparities for justiceinvolved persons.
      • Human Trafficking - SJI addresses the impact of federal and state human trafficking laws on the state courts, and the challenges faced by state courts in dealing with cases involving trafficking victims and their families.
      • Rural Justice – SJI supports rural courts by identifying promising and best practices, and promoting resources, education, and training opportunities uniquely designed for rural courts and court users. 
      • Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Elder Issues - SJI assists courts in improving court oversight of guardians and conservators for the elderly and incapacitated adults through visitor programs, electronic reporting, and training
    • Advancing Justice Reform
      • Criminal Justice Reform
      • Juvenile Justice Reform
      • Family and Civil Justice Reform
    • Transforming Courts
      • Emergency Response and Recovery - SJI supports projects that identify and replicate innovations and alternate means of conducting court business due to public health emergencies such as pandemics, and natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires.
      • Cybersecurity- SJI supports projects that assist courts in preparing for, and responding to, ransomware attacks on court case management systems, websites, and other critical information technology infrastructure.
      • Technology- SJI supports projects that institutionalize the innovative technology that has successfully advanced the use of electronic filing and payment systems, online dispute resolution, remote work, and virtual court proceedings. SJI promotes projects that streamline case filing and management processes, thereby reducing time and costs to litigants and the courts; provide online access to courts to litigants so that disputes can be resolved more efficiently; and make structural changes to court services that enable them to evolve into an online environment. 
      • Strategic Planning –SJI promotes structured planning processes and organizational assessments to assist courts in setting priorities, allocating resources, and identifying areas for on-going improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.
      • Training, Education, and Workforce Development –SJI supports projects that focus on the tools needed to enable judges, court managers, and staff to be innovative, forward thinking court leaders.


    History of Funding

    2005-2019 grant awards are listed at

    Additional Information

    To ensure that funds made available under this chapter are used to supplement and improve the operation of State courts, rather than to support basic court servicesfunds shall not be used to (1) supplant State or local funds currently supporting a program or activity; or 2) construct court facilities or structures, except to remodel existing facilities to demonstrate new architectural or technological techniques, or to provide temporary facilities for new personnel or for personnel involved in a demonstration or experimental program.

    Examples of basic court services include:

    • Hiring of personnel
    • Purchase and/or maintenance of equipment
    • Purchase of software and/or licenses
    • Purchase of internet access or service
    • Supplies to support the day-to-day operations of courts

    Applicants are encouraged to contact SJI Staff to discuss any questions related to this section prior to or during the application process.


    John Mattiello

    John Mattiello
    11951 Freedom Drive, Suite 1020
    Reston, VA 20190
    (571) 313-8843
    (571) 313-1173

  • Eligibility Details

    SJI is authorized by Congress to award grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to the following entities and types of organizations:

    • State and local courts and their agencies
    • National nonprofit organizations controlled by, operating in conjunction with, and serving the judicial branches of state governments
    • National nonprofit organizations for the education and training of judges and support personnel of the judicial branch of state governments
      • An applicant is considered a national education and training applicant if (a). The principal purpose or activity of the applicant is to provide education and training to state and local judges and court personnel; and (b.) The applicant demonstrates a record of substantial experience in the field of judicial education and training.

    Other eligible grant recipients includes:

    • Nonprofit organizations with expertise in judicial administration
    • Institutions of higher education
    • Individuals, partnerships, firms, corporations (for-profit organizations must waive their fees)
    • Private agencies with expertise in judicial administration

    Deadline Details

    Applications to most programs are due February 1, May 1, August 1, or November 1, annually. 

    Strategic Initiatives Grant applicants are required to submit a concept paper prior to the full application process. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact SJI prior to submitting a concept paper for guidance on this initial step.

    Award Details

    Award amounts and cost sharing vary based on program area: 

    • Project Grants: State court applicants may request up to $300,000 for 36 months. Local court applicants may request up to $200,000 for 24 months. Cost sharing/matching of 1:1 of the total cost of the project (dollar-for-dollar) is required. 
    • Technical Assistance Grants: Awards may not exceed $75,000. Cost sharing/matching of 50% of the grant amount is required. 20% of the match must be cash. Grant periods for TA Grants ordinarily may not exceed 12 months.
    • Curriculum Adaptation and Training Grants: CAT Grants may not exceed $40,000. Cost sharing/matching of 50% of the grant amount is required. 20% of the match must be cash. Grant periods for CAT Grants ordinarily may not exceed 12 months.
    • Partner Grants: SJI and its financial partners may set any level for Partner Grants, subject to the entire amount of the grant being available at the time of the award. Grant periods for Partner Grants ordinarily may not exceed 36 months. Cost sharing/matching of 50% of the total cost of the project (dollar-for-dollar) is required. 
    • Strategic Initiatives Grants: No maximum request is noted. No cost sharing/matching is required. 
    • Education Support Program (ESP): Awards cover the cost of tuition up to a maximum of $1,000 per course. Funds to pay tuition in excess of $1,000, and other costs of attending the program such as travel, transportation, meals, materials, and transportation to and from airports (including rental cars) at the site of the education program, must be obtained from other sources or be borne by the ESP award recipient.

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts

    • Funding Classroom Technology to Empower Students and Teachers - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Maximizing Technology-friendly Workforce Development Grants - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Funding Data-driven Workforce Development Projects - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available


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