Policy Reform and Social Justice Division
Definition and Mission Statement
The Montgomery County Public Defender Policy Director develops, manages, and evaluates programs designed to reduce recidivism and improve life outcomes for adult and juvenile clients by creating partnerships with criminal justice stakeholders, educators, service providers, and community agencies in order to build long-term sustainable solutions at minimal cost and maximum savings to the public. The Policy Director pursues grants, fellowships, and community resources, that will enhance delivery of holistic representation to Public Defender clients, aiming to resolve their legal and non-legal concerns that lead to criminal activity and open opportunities for financial stability that will decrease the likelihood of future criminal justice involvement and improve their capacity to contribute to family needs and economic growth in their communities.
Over the past four years, we have developed several community partnerships and initiatives designed to address the legal and extra-legal needs of our clients with the specific goal of preventing their entrance or return to the justice system.
As public defenders, we establish a critical, confidential connection with our clients. We are uniquely situated to assess the strengths and needs of the individuals we represent. To that end, we are implementing a holistic approach to legal representation in order to improve life success for our clients. Through increased training and resources, we seek to identify educational gaps, mental health issues, drug and alcohol addiction, lack of housing, unemployment and other factors that lead clients into the criminal justice system and impact their ability to reform and avoid future law enforcement contact. In turn, holistic representation also benefits the criminal justice system, courts, law enforcement, and the community as a whole by reducing the economic and systemic burdens of recidivism.
Our current community partnerships and initiatives are focused on providing mentors to at-risk juvenile clients, establishing student-run Youth Courts, expunging criminal records for eligible adult and juvenile Public Defender clients, building relationships between youth and officers to improve communication skills during street encounters and reduce the risk of escalation leading to injury and arrest, empowering community members to navigate the justice system and assist Public Defenders on behalf of friends and family members, and providing internships, externship and clinical programs with local schools to assist students and our clients at the same time.