Holistic representation is a client-centered, community-oriented approach to criminal defense that is currently emerging as an effective and critical solution to our broken criminal justice system. Spearheaded by such organizations as the Bronx Defenders and the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, holistic representation is based on the principle that defense lawyers and staff need to take an interdisciplinary approach—beyond the courtroom—to best represent clients and to address underlying issues affecting contact with the criminal justice system.
As the Center for Holistic Defense at the Bronx Defenders phrases it, holistic representation is the response to the need to "re-imagine our work in order to become true and lasting agents for change and transformation in the lives of our clients." For more information on holistic and community-oriented defense, please see the Ten Principles of Community Oriented Defense.
The Rhode Island Public Defender strives to incorporate the principles of community oriented defense into our own defense practice particularly through our social services, community partnerships, and legislative initiatives.