The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS) opened its doors in 1990, hoping to demonstrate the benefits of a community-based, team-based public defender that began representation from the moment of arrest, or even earlier. Although pretrial detention time was not statistically different for NDS clients compared with similar defendants, NDS clients ultimately received significantly shorter sentences, and the savings to the government in terms of jail and prison time were substantial. More than twenty years after its debut, NDS continues to show that high-quality public defense can play an important role in any strategy to unwind mass incarceration while improving the quality of criminal justice generally.
- Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem
- indigent defense
- violent crime
- community policing
- client-centered defense
- © 2011 Vera Institute of Justice