City Attorney LEP Assessment and Plan

As part of the City of Boise’s Limited English Proficiency Assessments (LEP), the Legal Department has developed the following plan to provide meaningful access to its services for LEP populations. The plan will be updated biennially.

Four Factor Analysis

  1. The number or proportion of LEP persons served or encountered in the eligible service population. The number or proportion of LEP persons encountered is the same as that in the general population of the City of Boise.
  2. The frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact with the program. In the past year, attorney and legal staff have had regular contact with LEP individuals, either at the courthouse or at the front desk. Of six attorneys/staff interviewed, three had contact with zero to two LEP individuals per month, two had five to six interactions per month, and one employee had ten or more contacts with LEP individuals per month. All of the LEP contacts were with either defendants or victims/witnesses in criminal cases. The languages spoken included Spanish, Somali, Arabic, Serbo/Croatian, Chinese, French, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Farsi, and Swahili. Legal prosecutes approximately 15,000 cases per year.
  3. The nature and importance of the program, activity or service provided by the recipient to people’s lives. A criminal case is one of the most important incidents in a person’s life, whether that person is the defendant or a victim of a crime. Ensuring that both defendants and victims understand their rights and the criminal justice process is of the upmost importance to the Legal department.
  4. The resources available to the recipient and the costs. The Department has “I Speak” language cards available at the front desk. In addition, translation services for defendants are available through the courthouse. Legal has an account with Language Line Solutions and has access to the Police Department’s Contract Interpreter list that can utilize interpreters in more than 30 languages if necessary to communicate with LEP victims. Defendants receive full interpreter and translation services through the court. Two attorneys are fluent in American Sign Language. There is one employee who understands Spanish but is not able to interpret to the level that is needed for proper interpretation.

Department Plan

Identifying Individuals Who Need Assistance

Legal frequently surveys its staff and attorneys for instances of direct or indirect contact with LEP individuals. Legal also has “I Speak” cards available at the front desk. Defendants who need translation services usually have “interpreter” stamped in the front of their court file.

Language Assistance Measures

Legal will continue to using “I Speak” cards at the front desk. Google Translate has been installed on their website and Google Translate is available on the front office computer where LEP individuals may be encountered. The Department also has an account with Language Line Solutions to provide telephone translations and uses the Boise Police Department Interpreter Program, for in-person and document translations.

Training Staff

In addition to the training provided by the City, Legal will ensure that its staff understands its Title VI LEP responsibilities. Staff will also receive specific training on what language assistance services the City of Boise offers and specific procedures to be followed when encountering LEP persons.

Providing Notice to LEP Persons

Legal will continue to direct LEP defendants to the courthouse’s services. While at court, attorneys will continue to access Language Line Solutions and the county’s formal court interpreters for language assistance. Because Legal is located in City Hall, a Spanish and English language assistance notice has been posted in the lobby. Legal has trained its front desk staff to use I Speak cards and Google Translate.

Monitoring and Updating the LEP Plan

Legal will monitor and update this plan on a regular basis, but not less than triennially. At minimum, Legal will examine how many LEP persons were encountered and determine if their needs were met. Legal will also continue to review its documents to determine if any of them should be translated into other languages and to determine if more program-specific outreach should be undertaken. It will also look at any complaints received and learn how to better serve the LEP population through those complaints.

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