Senior Social Worker, Criminal Defense Practice
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Susanna Eckblad received her BA in Psychology from the University of Texas—Austin in 1999. She moved to New York City and began working as a case manager at an apartment program for individuals who were formerly homeless. In this position, Susanna was trained in the harm reduction model and immersed in an agency culture that focused on people’s strengths and endless possibilities. Inspired to pursue a career in social work, Susanna received her MSW from University of Wisconsin—Madison in 2005 where she received the Debra Beebe Award, given to students who show an outstanding commitment to working with clients with severe mental illness. Susanna returned to Brooklyn where she became Team Leader of an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team and scattered-site housing program in Crown Heights.
In 2007, Susanna began working at Legal Aid Society, drawn by a wish to fight for the rights of those with mental illness in the criminal justice system. As a social worker in the Parole Revocation Defense Unit, she worked at a court on Rikers Island helping advocate for clients accused of violating their conditions of parole and in 2011, she became Social Work Supervisor. Susanna was integral in the unit’s pursuit of numerous policy reforms affecting clients with mental health issues. She also served as the developer and coordinator of a pilot project designed to improve mental health discharge planning for clients on parole being released from Rikers Island.
Susanna joined BDS in the Spring of 2016. In her free time, Susanna enjoys practicing and teaching yoga. She taught yoga to women in federal prison for several years and currently volunteers teaching mother-baby yoga in the nursery on Rikers Island.