At The Bronx Defenders, we look beyond individual struggles to identify and challenge entrenched injustice. We work for systemic reform and simple fairness and respect for our clients. Our Policy & Community Organizing team works closely with community groups, clients and their families to fight for justice and fairness in the neighborhoods we serve. We build community through annual events such as our Community Block Party and Thanksgiving Dinner. We have published groundbreaking reports on issues such as solitary confinement and the hidden costs of marijuana arrests and presented testimony before New York City Council on these issues among many others. We take a holistic approach to policy reform, using a broad range of strategies including grassroots organizing, coalition building, research, and legislation advocacy.
Our policy priorities reflect the needs of the community and the social, political, and legal environment in which our clients and their families are living. Our current policy priorities include:
- Ending “broken windows” policing and the severe enmeshed penalties of low-level arrests;
- Reforming outdated and deeply biased civil forfeiture laws;
- Eliminating destabilizing legal barriers to re-entry, including job-loss, eviction, school-suspension, even deportation;
- Ending the use of solitary confinement;
- Fighting for justice for families in the Bronx, where low-income children and families of color are disproportionately represented at every stage of the child welfare system; and
- Advocating for increased funding for civil legal services.