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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 184880 Find in a Library
Title: Community Defense and the Challenge of Community Justice
Journal: National Institute of Justice Journal  Issue:231  Dated:August 1996  Pages:41-45
Series: NIJ Journal
Author(s): Christopher Stone
Date Published: August 1996
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
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Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Program Description (Demonstrative)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) in Harlem, New York, was an experiment aimed at developing and testing new ways of organizing and deploying public defenders to solve problems of community justice yet provide high-quality representation.
Abstract: Begun in 1990 by the Vera Institute of Justice in partnership with New York City and New York State, the 5-year project operated alongside the far larger Legal Aid Society. The NDS differed from traditional public defenders in its relationship to client base, staff structure, and priorities. The NDS represented individuals accused of crimes who could not afford private lawyers and was based in the community. Instead of waiting for the court to assign the NDS to represent a client, the NDS encouraged Harlem residents to call the office any time. In contrast to the usual practice of assigning a client to a single attorney, each NDS client was represented by a team. The NDS assigned the highest priority to investigating and advocating for clients at the start of their cases, sometimes even before arrest. Further, the NDS was able to deal with the social realities of neighborhood disputes that court-based prosecutors were rarely familiar with. Although the NDS was cost-effective in that clients received significantly shorter sentences, the NDS did not significantly reduce detention decisions at the initial bail hearing. The author believes the experiences gained from the NDS can inform the development of public defenders and the community justice movement in general. 2 notes and 1 photograph
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Court appointed prosecutors; Legal aid services; New York; Prosecution; Public defenders
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