Webinar 1: Tribal Initiatives: Tribal Public Defense and How to Use Existing Resources to Provide Holistic Defense in Tribal Communities
The “Tribal Initiatives: Tribal Public Defense and How to Use Existing Resources to Provide Holistic Defense in Tribal Communities” Webinar was held on January 13, 2015 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (MST). The first presenter, Alex Sierck, Project Director for the Center for Holistic Defense, Bronx Defenders, provided a background on how Holistic Defense works and the importance of having a team based model to support clients’ needs. He also discussed the BJA grant awarded to Bronx Defenders which supports the Center’s efforts to provide training and technical assistance to Public Defender Offices that may be considering more holistic approaches to representation. Alex expressed a desire to provide assistance to tribes and encouraged tribes to contact the Center. Ann Sherwood, Attorney, Defenders Office of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, presented her Office’s approach to implement the Holistic Defense model in the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) tribal community with assistance from the Center for Holistic Defense. She stressed that clients could be provided with seamless access to justice even where resources are extremely limited. The CSKT Defenders Office’s success is largely attributed to finding the right people for the job, getting buy-in and support from the community, and building collaborative relationships with local, public and private entities. CSKT Defenders is able to provide an impressive range of services to clients, including diversion and cultural mentoring programs, assistance with collateral consequences, and mental health services; however, more resources are required to address additional clients’ needs. Ann shared the benefits of providing holistic public defense services, gave examples of using existing resources to expand public defender services in tribal communities, and offered some ideas for seeking additional resources.