Sunday, March 12, 2017
Public Defense Week
March 18, 2017, is the 54th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright and the Second Annual Public Defense Day. This week, we both celebrate and take time to assess the state of public defense.
And there is much to celebrate. Our alliances make us stronger and more innovative. Read about Jonathan Rapping's work at Gideon's Promise. The National Association of Public Defense just issued Alternatives to Traditional Prosecution Can Reduce Defender Workload, Save Money, and Reduce Recidivism, offering realistic and creative solutions to the increasingly burdened public defense system. Holistic defense paradigms have proven more effective and efficient.
But in many places, public defense (this includes both public defenders and appointed counsel) is overloaded and underfunded. The Atlantic reported, "America's Largest Mental Hospital is a Jail." Misdemeanor courts are broken, and function more as spiraling debtors' prisons. Juvenile justice is often an oxymoron. Children who need the most protection receive the least attention. Within the federal system, the Cardone Committee will soon issue a report about voucher cutting, remote detention, and travel and subsistence resources for indigent clients. And then there is immigration.
Celebrate Public Defense Week, especially Saturday. Check out the links above to learn more. And if you are not already a member of NAPD, consider joining.