Since the landmark decision of Gideon vs Wainwright in the Supreme Court in 1963, free legal counsel for indigent clients has been required for every state in the United States. However, the reality looks very different than this ideal with indigent defense services across the country being under-resourced, under-funded and forgotten by many other than those that require their services. This is happening in conjunction with the explosion of incarceration rates throughout the United States. This study aims to explain the relationship between the levels of funding provided for indigent defense services and the rates of incarceration. Using a multi-variate regression my study tests the per-capita funding for indigent defense services compared to the incarceration rates for 49 states and every county in Pennsylvania. This study found for half of the results that a higher level of funding for indigent defense services does lead to a lower incarceration rate.


Simpson, Sid

Second Advisor

Angela Bos


Political Science

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



© Copyright 2020 Itala M. Colby