Policy Advocacy Reform

Policy, Advocacy & Reform

The Policy, Advocacy & Reform Team at Brooklyn Defenders works to eliminate and reduce the harmful impacts of the criminal legal, family regulation and immigration systems. Through our participation in local, state and national coalitions, strategic engagement in the media and community education, we work to amplify the voices of public defenders and impacted people and communities.

Grounded in the direct experience of our clients and staff in these systems, we educate community members, legislators and stakeholders, and engage in legislative initiatives and strategic litigation to combat legal harms in Brooklyn and across New York State.

Units & Projects

Civil Rights and Law Reform Team

Our Civil Rights and Law Reform team uses strategic litigation to challenge systemic injustice and pursue reform.

Communications Team

The Communications Team works to amplify the voices of public defenders and the people we represent. We engage strategically with local and national press to call attention to the injustices we witness every day and to influence change.

Legislative Policy Team

The Policy, Advocacy & Reform team pursues change through legislative changes at the city, state and federal levels.

Policy, Advocacy & Reform Staff

BDS’ policy, advocacy and law reform teams consist of Policy Attorneys, Policy Specialists, Policy Social Workers, Communications Specialists, Civil Rights and Law Reform Attorneys, and Advocates representing all practices within BDS.

A policy counsel standing with a serious facial expression outside of Kings County Criminal Court.


of the people BDS serves reside in two neighborhoods, Brownsville and East New York.

Brownsville and East New York residents make up only


of the total Brooklyn population.

People of color make up over


of the residents in these neighborhoods.