Indigent Defense Improvement Grants

The Commission provides Texas Counties with Indigent Defense Improvement Grant funds to encourage innovation and to remedy non-compliance with the Fair Defense Act.

To ensure that funds are distributed fairly and efficiently, the Commission provides grant awards through the following strategies:

Indigent Defense Improvement Grants are awarded to assist counties in developing new, innovative programs or processes to improve the delivery of indigent defense services. A committee reviews and scores counties’ applications prior to presentation to the Grants and Reporting Committee and to the full Commission. 

Extraordinary Disbursement Grants is discretionary-based funding to reimburse a county for actual extraordinary expenses for providing indigent defense services in a case or series of cases causing a financial hardship for the county. 

Targeted Specific Grants promote compliance and provide a funding strategy to assist a county that has a finding of non-compliance. Staff will work with the court and county officials to develop an action plan for the county to address the compliance related to the Fair Defense Act.

Technical Support Grants increase the knowledge base about indigent defense or establish a process or program that may be replicated by other jurisdictions. The Commission will assist any county with technical support requests. 

Mental Health Public Defender Improvement Grant Programs encourages counties with existing public defender programs to create or expand mental health public defender services.

For more details:

  1. FY 2021 Indigent Defense Improvement Grant Request - now available by clicking here. 
    • The Commission offers Indigent Defense Improvement grants for counties interested in setting up new programs that improve indigent defense. Funding priorities include programs that put in place mechanisms to ensure quality representation (such as managed assigned counsel and public defender programs), specialized defender programs for mentally ill or juvenile defendants, and indigent defense coordinator positions. Counties are encouraged to contact Commission staff to explore ideas for new programs focused on improving indigent defense.
    • The application process is competitive and most grants require county matching funds. See the RFA for full details on single and multi-year grant policies. 
    • TIDC Indigent Defense Improvement Grant Web Training (February 5, 2019) Presentation
    • Please contact Edwin Colfax, Grant Program Manager, at 512-463-2508 or to explore funding opportunities  for programs focused on improving indigent defense. 
  2. Extraordinary Disbursement Grants - Procedures & Application Form
  3. Targeted Specific Grants
  4. Technical Support Grants - Procedures and Application Form (MS Word doc)
  5. Mental Health Public Defender Improvement Grant Program - FY20/21 Request for Applications (RFA)


  1. Formula Grant Program
  2. Permanent Grant Rules
  3. Uniform Grant Management Standards (UGMS)
  4. Commission Grants and Reporting Committee
  5. Indigent Defense Improvement Grant Payments Report
  6. FY19 Improvement Grants awarded at June 13, 2018 TIDC Board meeting
  7. FY2020 Improvement Grant Application Webinar