The Justice Index is a snapshot of the degree to which each US state has adopted best policies for ensuring access to justice justice for all people. In four key areas -- attorney access, self-help access, language access and disability access -- we have identified laws and rules that allow people to rely on the legal system for justice. We then examine the degree to which each state has adopted them.
Based on the results, we assign every state a score. Performance is measured on a scale of 0 to 100. See our methodology discussion for more details on how this scoring works and on how we do the work. The maps and other data below are based on a composite score that shows how states perform across all of these categories. You can also see how each state performs under each distinct policy area by using the menus above or below. On those pages, you can also learn about the specific laws and rules we are looking for.
In 2021, we expanded our inquiry to include a new policy area -- fines and fees. State scores on fines and fees are not factored into the Justice Index composite score. That is because the fines and fees arena is in some ways distinct from the other justice index categories -- it is less about improving access, and more about rooting abuse and oppression out from the justice system. However, at the bottom of this page we do offer visualizations that show an alternative composite score that includes fines and fees along with the other four categories.
You can explore our findings below, and for an overview of their implications and importance, see here.