With the City’s FY24 Budget Due Next Friday, Public Defenders and Civil Legal Services Providers Call on Mayor Adams to Support Increased Funding to Meet Widespread Staffing and Operational Needs
New York City’s leading public defender and civil legal services organizations called on Mayor Eric Adams to support increased funding in the City’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget to address insufficient funding levels, wage inequality, and rising costs which jeopardize low-income New Yorkers’ access to critical legal services.
These organizations support the City Council’s proposed $195 million in increased funding this upcoming fiscal year as an initial step in the right direction to address the aforementioned long-standing issues.
“New Yorkers facing incarceration, family separation, eviction, deportation, and other serious harms in the legal system deserve zealous representation regardless of their ability to afford an attorney,” said Lisa Schreibersdorf, Executive Director of Brooklyn Defender Services. “As cases head to trial and people’s lives hang in the balance, it is crucial that our clients have experienced attorneys by their side to defend them. However, chronic underfunding contributes to widespread attrition that has put legal services organizations in crisis, and as a result, the people we represent suffer. Mayor Adams and the NYC Council must show that it values the rights and lives of people ensnared in the legal system by prioritizing increased funding for public defense and legal services in the FY 2024 budget.”
Brooklyn Defender Services Helps to Ring in the School Year in East New YorkBrooklyn Defender Services was thrilled to kick off the 2023 school year in spectacular fashion alongside our community partners for the “It Takes a Village Back-To-School Giveaway" on September 2nd at Success Community Gardens.Events
NYC Family Defense Providers Submit Joint Testimony to the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on Racism Within Family Court and the Family Policing SystemThe Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, Center for Family Representation, and the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem submitted joint testimony on racism within the family policing system to the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which is conducting an investigation of “the New York Child Welfare System and its impact on Black Children and Families.”Press Releases
New York City Public Defenders’ Joint Statement on the Crisis on Rikers and the Need for ReceivershipNew York County Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and Queens Defenders issued a joint statement regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis on Rikers Island.Press Releases
Sweltering Summer Weather Stirs Familiar Concerns Over Heat in NYC Jails“It’s an issue that seems to be within DOC’s control, something they can anticipate,” said Lucas Marquez, director of civil rights and law reform at Brooklyn Defender Services. “And yet they’re really not able to make sure that the conditions are humane for the people that are forced to be there.”In The NewsBail & Pre-Trial Incarceration
Brooklyn Defender Services and New York County Defender Services Joint Statement on William Johnstone, the Sixth Person to Die in New York City Jails in 2023Brooklyn Defender Services and New York County Defender Services released the following joint statement following reports of the death of William Johnstone, a client of Brooklyn Defender Services and New York County Defender Services, who was the sixth person to die in Department of Correction (DOC) custody this year.Press Releases
Op-ed: Keeping families together is best - June is National Family Preservation Month"In June, families across the country are honoring National Family Preservation Month, recognizing the importance of the work being done to keep families together. To keep the city’s children safe, we must support — not tear apart — their families and communities."In The News
Testimony: The New York City Council Committee on Education Oversight Hearing on Legislation related to Students in the Foster SystemHannah Mercuris, Senior Attorney in the Education Practice at Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS), testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education Oversight Hearing on Legislation related to Students in the Foster SystemLetters & TestimoniesEducation Rights
Preserving Family Bonds Act Passes the New York State LegislatureA coalition of families impacted by the foster system and advocates for parents and young people hail the passage of the Preserving Family Bonds Act (A5394 - Joyner / S6720 - Brisport) in the New York State Legislature. The bill passed in the NYS Assembly on June 21st and in the NYS Senate on May 22nd. The Preserving Family Bonds Coalition urges Governor Hochul to immediately sign the act into law.Press Releases