• 7 people are interested

AmeriCorps with Public Defenders Office

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ORGANIZATION: Volunteer Initiative Program

  • 7 people are interested


NLADA AmeriCorps/VISTA Holistic Defense Volunteer

DATES: AUGUST 1, 2023 to JUNE 30, 2024


Estimate of total hours: 1900/volunteer hours

8 hours/day; 5 days/week

For morning information Contact Suzanne Willis: suzanne.willis@santacruzcounty.us

Please read below for more program detais.

The Santa Cruz County Office of the Public Defender (PDO) is creating a model public defender office responsive to the unique needs of the community we serve. Our attorneys, client advocates, investigators, social workers, and administrative team members began our work by implementing holistic defense teams and holistic practices from early representation through post-conviction relief. While our teams strive to provide zealous, client-centered representation, we have not had the capacity to intentionally build the community partnerships necessary to make Project R.I.S.E a success. While we have developed a holistic case management system and have engaged in an iterative process of improvements, we have not had the capacity to dedicate time and resources to train on and document our data collection and reporting processes. The community partnerships project will help a new public defender office build a successful holistic reentry initiative tailored to the unique needs and resources of Santa Cruz County. The successful implementation of our data systems project will ensure that our staffing decisions, budget and systemic advocacy, and new holistic defense efforts are informed by accurate data collected in clear and consistent ways.

During their one year service period, NLADA VISTA volunteers would focus on supporting the development of Project R.I.S.E. (Reentry, Integration, Support and Education) and data system capacity.

PDO's Community Partnership VISTA will support the development of Project R.I.S.E (Reentry, Integration, Support & Education), which will provide holistic reentry support to individuals exiting custody. The VISTA will begin by mapping both the local and national landscape of resources available to support individuals leaving a period of incarceration. Our Community Partnership VISTA will be embedded in the holistic defense team, reporting to the Director of Holistic Defense. Activities will include a needs assessment to better understand the challenges our clients are facing as they leave custody, research on existing national and local reentry resources, and meetings with local county and community partners to strengthen networks for reentry support. After a year, a successful VISTA will have solidified key reentry partnerships, developed referral processes to connect clients with resources, and produced a final Project R.I.S.E practice guide that provides practical guidance for providing reentry support for our clients given our mission, vision, values, and resources.

As an agency dedicated to data-informed decision making, PDO's Data Systems VISTA will be integral to building our capacity to accurately track what is driving our clients into the criminal legal system and the enmeshed penalties that result from system involvement. In July 2022, we implemented a holistic case management system in a jurisdiction that has relied on paper files for 47 years. The data systems VISTA will work under the direction of our IT team and in close collaboration with all defenders to train and support defenders utilizing our case management system, document data entry processes and practices, and inform data system improvements. Activities will include a thorough review of our case management system, meetings with defenders in every role to inform content and process improvements, development of trainings, and documentation of the processes by which our teams receive and capture data. At the one-year mark, a successful VISTA will have produced training materials, a guide for capturing data, and a robust POWER BI dashboard that provides defenders up-to-date, visual representations of our work.

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About Volunteer Initiative Program


701 Ocean Street, Room 510, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, US

Mission Statement

To promote civic engagement in the county of Santa Cruz through volunteerism.


-Neighborhood Pride volunteers to remove graffiti -interns for county programs


Justice & Legal
Community, Justice & Legal


Tue Jun 20, 2023 - Sat Jun 01, 2024
12:01 AM - 11:59 PM


Santa Cruz, CA 95060







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