City Limits: Low Pay for Public Defenders and Prosecutors Seen as Threat to Justice

Pay disparity in public defense disproportionately affects aspiring defenders from the communities that we serve…As we are all aware, low-income Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people are overwhelmingly overrepresented in the court systems as defendants, and incredibly underrepresented as defenders.

Our Shannon CumberbatchDirector of Hiring and Diversity, testified before the New York City Council on pay disparity’s role in client-centered representation.Individuals who are least likely to have family support to fall back on and need financial stability–such as immigrants and those from racially and socioeconomically marginalized backgrounds–end up seeking higher paying jobs. As a result, we get a system where the public defenders do not share experiences with the clients they represent.

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