(Missourinet) – The Missouri Public Defender System is trying to prevent poor people from committing crimes and going to jail. It is using a new approach that focuses more on the root causes of criminal involvement. Director Mary Fox the system’s Holistic Defense Services is designed to reduce the roughly 60,000 cases it takes on each year.
“Through grant funding, I think we currently have like 22 advocates in our offices. Our goal is to have a client advocate in each of our 33 trial offices,” says Fox. “Many of our offices will need more than one because they have such a large number of case intake. But we want to do that in a way that we can eventually save the state money.”
The approach helps clients find jobs; connects them to community-based social services; and provides advocacy in their cases; among other things.