A new model of public defense.

The Center for Holistic Defense

CHD_Logo_CMYK_LGA project of The Bronx Defenders, The Center for Holistic Defense is a resource center for public defender offices, individual advocates, policy makers, and others who seek to learn more about Holistic Defense or are interested in adopting a holistic approach to public defense in their own office or jurisdiction.

Holistic Defense is an innovative, client-centered, and interdisciplinary model of public defense that addresses both the circumstances driving people into the justice systems as well as the devastating consequences of that court involvement. Based on individual needs, this model connects clients with criminal defense, family defense, and related civil legal representation, as well as social work support and advocacy beyond the courtroom.

Through a grant from The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, and in partnership with The Center for Court Innovation, The Center for Holistic Defense advances the field of public defense by expanding the model of Holistic Defense beyond the Bronx. Though The Center, The Bronx Defenders hosts site visits to our offices, provides expert faculty at conferences and symposia, and provides in-depth, hands-on support, training, and technical assistance to individual offices and defender systems seeking concrete guidance in realizing the vision of Holistic Defense.

The Center for Holistic Defense also serves as an incubator for advancing the field of public defense. In May 2014, The Bronx Defenders hosted the first-ever Holistic Defense Symposium. The event brought together a group of innovators and trailblazers – including defenders and advocates from 24 different organizations across the U.S. – who are challenging traditional criminal justice systems and redefining public defense in their jurisdictions to share their experiences, incite discussion, and bring back lessons learned to help improve delivery of services to our clients in the Bronx and beyond.

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