The Bronx Defenders is a public defender nonprofit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the justice system and, in doing so, is transforming the system itself.
Four pillars are at the core of holistic defense:
Seamless access to services that meet legal and social support needs
Holistic defense begins with a commitment to addressing clients’ most pressing legal and social support needs. Because the universe of these needs will vary from community to community, a holistic defender office must begin by identifying the full range of client needs.
Dynamic, interdisciplinary communication
The interdisciplinary team alone is not what drives the success of holistic defense — it is the team’s culture of open, frequent, and meaningful communication.
Advocates with an interdisciplinary skill set
A holistic defender goes beyond the zealous advocacy of the committed public defender with an enhanced set of skills that are both client-centered and interdisciplinary.
A robust understanding of, and connection to, the community served
Holistic defense recognizes that an advocate who is better able to relate to their client, by having spent time in their neighborhood and with members of their community, will be more likely to provide authentic and effective representation.