At the Cook County Public Defender's Office, we are taking traditional criminal legal defense out of the courthouse and into the community to provide more collaborative representation and services.
We plan to launch our first community defense center in Chicago's South Side community of Roseland by early 2024.
The Freedom Defense Center of Roseland will take traditional criminal legal defense out of the courtroom and into the community to provide more collaborative representation and services.
SERVICES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
- Legal defense representation starting at arrest
- Legal education
- Mental health support
- Linking art, defense and restorative justice
- Case management
WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY AND BRINGING CHANGE
The Freedom Defense Center of Roseland aims to empower the community by fighting for justice in collaboration with residents. A local public defense team working with families and organizations in Roseland will provide more informed and powerful courtroom advocacy.
Block Club Chicago's Maxwell Evans wrote this story about the plans for the Freedom Defense Center.
Inclusive. Intentional. Collaborative.
Those are the guiding principles for the planning process for the center.
Two planning circles are with us every step of the way, and are advising us on everything from the name of the center, to its mission, to its location, to the cases it will take on and the services that it will provide.
The Outside Planning Circle (pictured above) is made up of community members from Roseland.
The Inside Planning Circle is made up of people incarcerated at the Cook County jail.
As Public Defenders we are working to build trust and collaborate authentically to understand community needs. We are working very hard to involve deeply rooted and diverse community voices in planning circles, focus groups, surveys and public gatherings.