Drug, Gang & Violent Crime

John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program for Public Defenders and Prosecutors




The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) is pleased to support the John R. Justice Program (JRJ Program) in Arizona. Please take a moment to review the materials below to see if you qualify for student loan assistance through the JRJ Program.


One pressing challenge facing our criminal justice system today is the retention of those who serve everyday to ensure that our communities are protected and the rule of law is upheld—including our prosecutors and public defenders. In the current economy, both prosecutor and public defender offices find it difficult to attract and retain talented attorneys. Driven by educational debt, attorneys interested in public interest law often forego opportunities to work in these offices in order to seek more lucrative private sector positions. Attorney shortages in these offices can result in overworked attorneys handling unmanageable caseloads, potentially affecting public safety, the administration of justice, and ultimately the public's confidence in our justice system.

Student loan debt is consistently cited as the overwhelming reason why attorneys decline or leave positions as prosecutors and public defenders. The vast majority of law students borrow to finance their legal education and the rising costs have imposed staggering debt. Furthermore, public defender and prosecutor salaries have failed to keep pace with the escalating cost of education. As a result, talented lawyers are often unwilling to accept attorney positions as prosecutors or public defenders, creating real challenges for those offices in their quest to hire and retain capable attorneys.

Acknowledging this challenge, Congress enacted the John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act (42 U.S.C. § 3797cc-21), named for the late John Reid, Justice of South Carolina, to encourage qualified attorneys to choose careers as prosecutors and public defenders and to continue in that service. The John R. Justice (JRJ) Program provides loan repayment assistance for local, state, and federal public defenders and local and state prosecutors who commit to continued employment as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years. The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) is the new Governor-designated entity administering the JRJ Program in Arizona.

Congress provided the first year of funding for the JRJ Program in fiscal year 2010. Now, the JRJ Program will allot $167,014  to the ACJC for fiscal year 2024.

Award monies are paid directly to the lender or servicer of the loan upon execution of the service agreement required for participation in the JRJ Program. As required by the grant, the award money is intended to supplement, not substitute, the recipient’s personal student loan obligation. Awards are renewable, however all awards are subject to federal funding of the JRJ Program.


Application Packet 

Service Agreement 

Frequently Asked Questions 


The application period for the FY24 program year will reopen in February 2024.


Deadline to submit applications will be announced in 2024.


Your completed application packet must include:

  1. Application Packet: Complete Sections A, B, C, and D of the 2024 Arizona JRJ Program Application Packet.

  2. Proof of Employment: Complete and sign Section A of the 2024 Employment Verification form.

  3. Proof of Loans: Complete and sign the 2024 Loan Verification form and include a recent account statement containing the pertinent loan information listed under Required Loan Information.

  4. Service Agreements (Appendix A, B, or C): Complete and sign the applicable John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program (JRJ) Service Agreement, the Service Agreement – Acknowledgment of Benefit, or the Service Agreement – Acknowledgment of Benefit Form.

  5. Internal Revenue Service Form 1040: A copy of pages one and two of your 2023 Federal 1040 is required.

  6. W-9 Form: Completed W-9 form from your loan agency, this is required in order to set up the vendor in our state financial system to print award checks if awarded. **Applications WILL NOT be accepted without a properly completed W-9 form** W-9 Form.

  7. Return the application packet with your supporting documentation to Ashley Mully AMully@azcjc.gov

You can also print and mail your application to:

Arizona Criminal Justice Commission
ATTN: Ashley Mully
1110 W Washington St, Ste 230
Phoenix, AZ 85007


If you have any questions about the application process or would like more information, please email Ashley Mully at AMully@azcjc.gov.