Language Assistance

Support for People with Limited English Proficiency

More than 25 million people in the United States have limited proficiency in the English language. While many of these people use English at work and in their daily lives, understanding what happens in a courtroom can be more difficult. Many others have less facility with English and are lost in telling their story – whether inside the courtroom or speaking with court clerks – without the support of a trained and qualified interpreter and without translation of official court documents.

This visualization shows the overall performance of each state in assuring access to justice for people with limited proficiency in the English language. Performance is measured on a scale of zero to 100, in which zero reflects a poor performance (and may result in part from the lack of availability of data for the state) and in which 100 reflects adoption of all the practices researched with respect to this issue. The purpose of this visualization is to show the index for this category, with the ability to filter and compare the performance of each state.  Here are some ways to start navigating the visualization:
  • Select ‘Top’ (or ‘Bottom’) 5, 10 or 25 states (i.e., the states  with the highest (lowest) justice index) by choosing the drop-down filter and the sliding scale at the top right corner of the visualization. To reset the filter, slide the sliding scale back to 50.
  • Filter by Region by checking one or more Region checkboxes near the map.
  • To focus on one (or more) states on the map, click and drag the cursor around the states of interest. Zoom in or out using the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ icons respectively on the top left corner of the map. Reset the map by clicking on the blue colored thumb tack on the top left corner of the map. To un-select states, click on an area of the map outside of the states.
  • The horizontal bars to the right of the map can be filtered by clicking on a single bar or clicking and dragging to select multiple states. To sort the chart, click the sort icon that appears when the cursor hovers near the x-axis of the bar-chart. To reset the chart, click on an area of the chart outside of the bars.
  • Select one or more states in the ‘Index Distribution (Scaled to 100)’ chart by clicking on one or more diamonds. To reset the chart, click on an area of the chart outside the diamonds.
  • Filter the ‘bubble chart’ by clicking on a ‘bubble’ or clicking and dragging to select multiple ‘bubbles’. The chart can also be filtered by clicking on the small squares that represent regions. To reset, click on an area of the chart outside the ‘bubbles’.
  • To filter by question, determine the question number from the first column of the ‘Response details’ chart and select it from the question number drop-down. Click the desired response check boxes for response(s) of interest. To reset, click on the (All) response check box.
Filters apply simultaneously to all parts of the visualization (e.g., if ‘NY’ is selected in the map, all other charts will be filtered for ‘NY’ only).  Multiple filters may be simultaneously applied.
About This Data Visualization

The Justice Index presents our findings on important steps that states can take to give those with limited proficiency in English a meaningful opportunity to be heard. On the bubble chart below the map, the Justice Index compares each state’s progress in taking these important steps to the number of people in the state with limited English proficiency. The “Response Detail” and “Citations” tabs (at top) provide greater detail on the questions asked and the sources of data. The findings show that some states have gone further down the path than others in adopting best practices for ensuring meaningful access to the courts for people with limited English proficiency.