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As the number of cases increases, North Dakota Legal Aid asks the state for greater funding



North Dakota – Due to a rise in the number of cases, North Dakota Legal Aid, which represents criminal defendants who cannot afford their own counsel, is currently having trouble filling staff positions.

In order to satisfy the demand, the agency is requesting more legal assistance funding from the Legislature in order to create new positions and enhance salaries for staff members and contract attorneys.

Throughout the 2022 fiscal year, which ended in June, the agency dealt with approximately 16,000 cases. That represents an increase of 11% from the 2020 fiscal year but roughly the same as the prior year.

In addition to an increase in cases, the severity of crimes has increased statewide, which requires more time from attorneys. Even youth crime is on the rise.

Additionally, the overall number of cases in this fiscal year has already surpassed that of the two years prior, according to Legal Aid.

The organization has a $20.9 million budget over the next two years.

An increase of $2 million is requested by legal aid.