Race and class prejudice are deeply embedded in the U.S. legal system. NDS fights them daily in the courthouse while eradicating them in policy.

NDS leaders sit on local, state and national panels, commissions and task forces charged with broad mandates to address problem areas such as fines and fees, predictive policing and problem-solving courts.

Providing a voice to those most impacted by contact with the justice system, NDS brings a much-needed perspective to policy debates.  Poorly crafted legislation can impact the lives of citizens, shatter families and reverberate through a community for generations.  By ensuring that public defenders – those positioned best to understand and counteract the impact of the justice system on their clients – have a voice in policy-making, NDS has guided reform to where it is most needed.

Recent examples include NDS’s involvement in the National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices and consulting in Mississippi with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers