2011 -- New York
Federal Sentencing Reporter
ABSTRACT & CITATION
This article describes the “team-based, client-centered, problem-solving model” of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS) – one of the first public defender offices of its kind when it opened in 1990. Rather than being situated near Manhattan courthouses, it was located where the clients lived. This allowed defenders to do more thorough investigation into their clients’ backgrounds and the facts of their cases. That access was critical for a client-centered – rather than case-centered – approach. The client-centered approach brought non-legal experts into client consultations, taking them beyond the traditional model of criminal defense. NDS also drew on experiments in community policing to engage defenders with the larger community. The Vera Institute rigorously evaluated NDS over five years, and was surprised to find that, although NDS-style representation was more expensive for the government, the cost was easily offset by the shorter prison sentences served by NDS clients. NDS continues to thrive today and has inspired other defenders. This article hopes that in today’s relatively low-crime, cost-conscious political climate, the NDS model will continue to flourish.
Stone, Christopher. (2011). Innovations in Public Defense as an Investment in Better in Sentencing. Federal Sentencing Reporter. 2011(24): 21-22Topics: Community Relations, Experts, Funding, Investigation, Support Services
Last revised: June 10, 2015 11:39 am