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ArchCity Defenders (ACD) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit civil rights law firm providing holistic legal advocacy to the poor and homeless ACD fights the criminalization of poverty and state violence against poor people and people of color. ACD uses direct services, impact litigation, and policy and media advocacy as its primary tools to promote justice, protect civil and human rights, and bring about systemic change on behalf of the poor and communities of color directly impacted by the abuses of the legal system.
Whether they come to us personally, are referred to us by one of our community partners, or are identified by our team in the courts, our clients are the often-overlooked individuals in our criminal justice system. Not eligible for the services of other organizations and still unable to afford private counsel, our clients represent the people who commonly fall through the cracks including: Those who have a mental illness or disability; Homeless veterans; Recent immigrants; People with substance use disorders; Domestic violence survivors; Families facing eviction; and others.
ArchCity Defenders fills in this legal services gap by providing free holistic representation to individuals who would otherwise not have access. Holistic Defense is an innovative model of public defense that combines aggressive legal advocacy with a broader recognition that for most poor people arrested and charged with a crime, the criminal case is not the only issue with which they struggle. Clients receive support from a holistic and interdisciplinary team of legal and social support advocates. Working with their holistic team, clients are able to make truly informed decisions about how to proceed with their cases and are empowered with the knowledge, resources and support to address the underlying issues and challenges in their lives. As a result, these clients fare better. Ultimately, getting to the root of these problems and by stabilizing lives, the practice of Holistic Defense reduces the likelihood of future criminal justice experience.
- Michael-John Voss
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