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Advocacy and the Penal System, Research Paper Example

Pages: 14

Words: 3834

Research Paper

Intervention plan

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is among New York City’s most punctual suppliers of redrafting portrayals and administrations to the needy individuals who have been accused of different lawful offenses. Since it was established in 1988, OAD has stood firm on an exceptional foothold in the field of impoverished re-appraising safeguard: it not just gives eminent redrafting backing, it is additionally a pioneer in inventive, all encompassing, and customer focused portrayal. Today, OAD addresses destitute individuals indicted for lawful offenses in Manhattan and the Bronx in the New York Supreme Court, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Judicial Department, New York State Court of Appeals and, in the government Courts (Office of the Professions, 2021). Since OAD perceives the significant bad form in absolutions that happen a very long time subsequent to condemning, its Reinvestigation Project quickly surveys all OAD cases to recognize expected unjust feelings. OAD lawyers and examiners find and meeting observers, gather new proof, talk with specialists, seek after all conceivable proof of honesty, and, where fitting, document petitions for alleviation. OAD was the primary investigative safeguard to add a social specialist to its perpetual staff.

OAD perceives that during the pendency of an allure, huge issues related with imprisonment (e.g., physical/emotional well-being care), and the parole interaction, and reintegration into the local area regularly hinder the capacity to give significant help to direct or potentially sabotage the full advantage of legitimate alleviation (Office of the Professions, 2021). OAD’s Client Services Director, in this way, gives social work backing to customers on the matter that fall outside of the skill of legal counselors. OAD likewise screens criminal equity patterns and supporters for fundamental change of laws, approaches, and systems that antagonistically influence its customers and networks. By committing itself to advancement and staying adaptable and receptive to arising criminal equity needs, OAD separates itself from conventional investigative protector workplaces and stands as a public model for penniless re-appraising safeguard portrayal (Office of the Professions, 2021).

Description of the Problem

Racial inequality in the criminal justice system remains a significant issue since it undermines the fundamental elements upon which the New York criminal justice system rests. It also increases systemic racism that targets the minority populations like POC because they represent 53% of incarcerated individuals. In comparison, the white majority population represents 58% of all convicts in New York (Hetey & Eberhardt, 2018). The statistics show that POC have the highest incarceration rate in the state despite belonging to the minority population, as explained by Hetey & Eberhardt (2018).

Racial inequality undermines the doctrines of equal justice among the different populations within the city. It is a form of social injustice that fuels hate and discrimination within society. Racial inequality also contravenes the Civil Liberties Act of 1964 since it outlaws discrimination on numerous grounds like sex, race, religion, color, or nationality (Pettit & Gutierrez, 2018). Racial inequality results in poor mental and physical health among the affected people. For instance, incarcerated people suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and stress, as McCarter explained (2018).  It also undermines their wealth accumulation and denies them equal opportunities in social, political endeavors like education, criminal justice, health care, and the labor market (Willmott & Van Olphen, 2005). Therefore, racial inequality is a form of oppression since it oppresses the minority population by barring them from equal treatment under the law and equal employment opportunities.

On the other hand, social workers’ role in society involves assisting families, individuals, and groups of individuals coping with their issues. They also advocate for equal rights for all people and identify the required resources by convincing the government and other stakeholders on the society’s needs and members’ rights (Grossman & Lundy, 2007). In this case, they play a role in eradicating racial inequality within the criminal justice system since it creates significant reentry problems for previously incarcerated individuals. Such individuals experience problems in making successful transitions which increase recidivism and crime in society (Grossman & Lundy, 2007). Therefore, social workers should use restorative justice to assist previously incarcerated individuals by addressing the harm caused by imprisonment. Restorative justice will play a significant role in addressing the harm caused by racial inequality since the stakeholders will identify its causes and determine a way forward, as explained by the Center for Court Innovation (2021). The stakeholders include the social workers, individuals convicted of various felonies, and the community members. This paper proposes an authentic anti-racism action plan that involves civic education in community forums as the key restorative justice approach in addressing the harm caused by racial inequality.

Objective

The anti-racism action plan’s main objective is to educate the people on the harmful impacts of racial inequality in community forums that will take place within one year to discourage the practice.

Stakeholder Analysis

The Client Services Director offers social work support to the customers on issues not related to the attorney’s expertise. He or she represents the social workers who are instrumental stakeholders since they are professionally qualified to address the people’s numerous problems. They will play a significant role in making references that seek to connect the individuals affected by racial inequality with society’s available resources. Social workers’ professional role involves advocating for other people’s rights and needs; hence, they should advocate for an end to racial inequality in local, county, and state forums (Grossman & Lundy, 2007). Some of them advocate for international human rights, which will attract international support to end global racial inequality. They will also be involved in assisting and locating previously incarcerated individuals since they are case managers. In this regard, their professional experience will play an instrumental role in the proposed civic education programs, as noted by Grossman & Lundy (2007). Their objective will involve educating the people on the harmful impacts of racial inequality.

Previously incarcerated individuals are also critical stakeholders in the proposed anti-racism action plan because they will provide firsthand accounts of the harmful impacts of racial inequality. They will play the victims’ role in the proposed community forums. Moreover, they are the ones who require assistance; hence they are the primary targets in the anti-racism action plan (Willmott & Van Olphen, 2005). Incorporating previously incarcerated individuals is to educate the community members on the harmful impacts of racial inequality using their actual experiences. The other objective of incorporating them will involve assisting them with their problems. The members of the community are also essential stakeholders. They include individuals from different races, professions, and genders, among other characteristics. Participation in the community forums will facilitate the success of the proposed civic education since society members are the ones who practice racial inequality. The community forum’s main objective will involve educating the members of society about the detrimental impacts of racial inequality.

Critical Actor

The social worker will serve as the critical actor in the proposed anti-racism action plan since they are professionally qualified and experienced in civic education regarding the harmful impacts of racial inequality.

Facilitating Actors

The community members will serve as facilitating civic education actors since their attendance will play a significant role in the plan’s success. They are also the primary targets in civic education. Previously incarcerated individuals are also instrumental facilitating factors because they require a social worker’s assistance. In this regard, the facilitating actors will contribute to the social workers’ intervention plan through their attendance and cooperation in the restorative justice approach.

Sanctions

OAD’s mission involves ensuring the low-income earners convicted of various types of felonies receive equal and full access to justice by advocating for reforms within the criminal justice system. Eradicating racial inequality in the system, therefore, remains OAD’s top priority in advocacy. In this case, educating society members on the harmful impacts of racial inequality will advance its mission since it will reduce racism in society. Moreover, professionals in the criminal justice system are members of the community; hence they will also attend the community forums. They will therefore utilize the knowledge acquired within the criminal justice system and advance OAD’s mission statement.

The social worker being the critical actor is licensed to practice as a social worker by the state of New York. The license protects their right to approve the objective since it fits their work descriptions, qualifications, and the law. Article 154, 7702 (2a) of the New York social work law states that only a person licensed or exempted under this article shall practice “licensed master social work” as defined in subdivision one of section seventy-seven hundred one of this article (Office of the Professions, (2021). The state of New York, therefore, guarantees the social worker’s right to approve the objective.

As a social worker, I have a role in initiating change within society. I should also advocate for eradicating all forms of social injustices like racial inequality to promote equal justice and minimize harm. My professional qualifications also justify my role in initiating the change. As a professional social worker, my roles include advocating for other people’s rights, managing the clients’ cases, educating the people, facilitating policy changes and community development, and organizing various levels of community organization. My professional duties, therefore, provides me with a role to initiate change in society. My knowledge and experiences in social work and support from OAD serve as the key resources since they determine how I play a role in initiating the change. According to the Center for Court Innovation (2021), collaborations with other advocates are also crucial since they provide insights on matters beyond my expertise or experience critical in initiating the change.

Prior Efforts

The report published by the New York City Mayor on ending gender-based and domestic violence using community-based approaches and restorative justice shows how the Mayor’s office has addressed initiate partner violence in the city (Sasson & Allen, 2020). The office has complied with community conversations and research for years to promote restorative justice in ending intimate partner violence. According to Sasson & Allen (2020), it also advocates for the survivors’ increased options, which has reduced domestic and gender-based violence. The success shows how the Mayor’s office applied the concept of increasing the families’ and survivors’ options in making the change.

On the other hand, jurisdictions in the U.S. have applied restorative approaches to promote safety and accountability in addressing intimate partner violence (Cissner et al., 2019). A report on a national portrait report on the issue revealed that initiatives that prioritize safety and agency survival concentrate on accountability among individuals responsible for the harm and stress the need for voluntary participation (Cissner et al., 2019). The initiatives also engage the communities in addressing intimate partner violence. The results show how jurisdictions have successfully applied community engagement is making the change in response to intimate partner violence.

Force Field Analysis

The fundamental driving forces include the need to minimize the harm caused by racial inequality in the society, the need to promote social justice, the desire to promote public trust and confidence in the criminal justice system, and the need to promote accountability and transparency within the criminal justice system. The forces facilitate implementing the restorative justice approach, as explained by Bazemore & Stinchcomb (2004).

The main restraining forces include systemic racism, structural inequities, poor relationships between the stakeholders, and systemic oppression. These factors are key obstacles in implementing the restorative justice approach within the criminal justice system since they influence the stakeholders’ attitudes, opinions, and abilities in implementing the change.

Anti-Black Racism

The U.S has an especially long and intolerable bigot past. Since the nation’s establishing, bigotry has invaded regular day-to-day existence, laws, spaces, monetary constructions, and accepted practices. The United States’ underlying provinces utilized manufactured ethnic marks (i.e., non-whites and whites) to sustain a financial construction that pre-owned subjugation and security work as cash, which was gotten from European strict colonialist beginnings. The affluent class utilized competition to apply social controls over the white settlements’ occupants, just as dislodging and decimation native people groups, bringing about the making of things to come US’s authoritative social truth (Allen, 2012a). The expression “white” begat to recognize European and American inhabitants from non-Europeans and Americans regarding friendly versatility upward. For the civil wars, the alleged liberation of Black Americans, this course of action saved the ‘vital’ bondage system (Blackmon, 2009). Legislative arrangements and lawful reference points formed social designs dependent on ‘whiteness’ and ‘non-whiteness,’ particularly around citizenship and its related rights (Haney-López, 2006; Rothstein, 2017). Many aspects of everyday life have been formed by ethnic personality and bias frameworks.

White Supremacy

White supremacy and anti-black racism are essential factors that play a significant role in encouraging racial inequality within our criminal justice system. They may influence the stakeholders’ determination to end racial inequality. Moreover, white supremacy supporters are a crucial obstacle in implementing the restorative justice approach properly since they are prone to racially biased decisions that may affect the implementation process. Similarly, anti-black racism remains a vital issue since it may influence the stakeholders’ decisions, accountability levels, and transparency, as explained by Bazemore & Stinchcomb (2004). In response to the issues, high levels of integrity, accountability, effective communication, and transparency will form the basis for the stakeholders to collaborate and interact during the implementation period.

The second segment of this exposition analyzes the impact of white racial incomparability philosophy on individuals who view themselves as or are viewed as Black since the Colonial time (Rothstein, 2017). Being Black through the bigoted thought crystal prompts various dehumanization types than those referenced beforehand. In this situation, fundamental and mainstream attacks on Africans’ pride, BIPOC, Aborigines, and their relatives occur. As a feature of the way toward colonizing their psyches, these people groups’ feeling of having a place with humankind was and kept on being excluded and won’t. Because of racial domination, various philosophical methodologies and practices to control and persecute have been set up. The colonizers’ point was to ingrain in the colonized that they were not as human as they were if they were human by any means (Fanon, 1983).

Resources

The social worker will require numerous resources like community forum venues and financial resources required to mobilize and create awareness about the community forums. It shows that support from OAD is paramount because it will provide the required financial resources. Background information on previous applications of the restorative justice approach is also an integral resource for the social worker. The support from other stakeholders and the relevant authorities is also instrumental in approving the social worker’s objective. Institutions that assist previously convicted people are also essential resources for referrals.

Receptivity

The social worker’s receptivity is a critical factor in the community forums since it will determine their commitment, communication, and the type of relationship they forge with other stakeholders.

Level of Intervention

Approaching the OAD’s management will involve writing an official letter to inform them of the proposed anti-racism action plan. It would also involve sending a copy of the proposed intervention plan and making an appointment to discuss the entire plan, especially the benefits of implementing it within the criminal justice system.

Object of Intervention

The Client Service Director will be required to approve the objective on behalf of the OAD because they address all organization’s social work activities. They will also avail all the required resources that will facilitate the proposed community forums. The Client Service Director will also make recommendations on areas that require some changes. Directors of client services are responsible for maximizing customer satisfaction and engagement with their products or services. They serve as managers, mentors, and thought leaders who oversee customer support. This entails assigning day-to-day tasks and guiding teams through issue escalations and client interactions, and meeting with clients directly to cultivate long-term relationships. On a larger scale, they use data analysis to inform business planning and set the direction for its customer experience initiatives. Directors of client services work during regular business hours, although overtime is likely because of a heavy workload, and they must be on-call at all times in case of client issues.

Supervising Attorney

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is the city’s second-most established institutional poor guard office and the city’s most established supplier of re-appraising portrayal to weak individuals sentenced for lawful offenses. Since its commencement in 1988, OAD has gained notoriety for exceptional re-appraising support, innovativeness, and a complete way to deal with the portrayal (Rothstein, 2017). The New York State Bar Association and the re-appraising courts have reliably lauded OAD for remarkable portrayal. OAD’s core mission is to ensure full and equal access to justice by providing high-quality and client-centered representation throughout the appellate process. In furtherance of this goal, we employ a unique “double-teaming” method that pairs a Supervising Attorney with a Staff Attorney to closely collaborate in the client’s representation in every case (Office of Professions, 2021). This approach enables the attorneys to hone in on the best issues for appeal, tell clients’ stories effectively, identify and pursue other forms of advocacy that are most effective for each client’s unique circumstances. OAD is committed to developing and litigating innovative legal theories that most effectively demonstrate the injustices that our clients have experienced. OAD is committed to preserving a staff of lawyers with various experiences and backgrounds. Each OAD staff shares a deep commitment towards public service and defend the less fortunate.

Responsibilities

  • Providing holistic, post-conviction representation to indigent persons convicted of felonies in Manhattan and the Bronx, including but not limited to:
  1. Direct appeals in the Appellate Division and the New York Court of Appeals, including assisting with intake evaluation of cases;
  2. Advising clients as to all potential appellate options, including withdrawal of appeals, where appropriate, as well as negotiating pleas or other remedies following reversal of conviction;
  3. Post-conviction motions and hearings challenging the lawfulness of convictions and sentences like in Article 440 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law, as well as engaging in reinvestigation efforts as necessary;
  4. Hearings to determine classification level according to the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA);
  5. Federal habeas corpus challenges to state court convictions; and
  6. Parole proceedings and re-entry preparation.
  • Supervising staff attorneys, pro bono attorneys, and law student interns on all aspects of client representation through OAD’s “double-teaming” model, including but not limited to:
  1. Development of case theory: familiarity with case records, issue conferencing, and strategy development;
  2. Drafting of pleadings: editing and framing of briefs, leave applications, post-conviction motions;
  3. Oral argument: mooting and issue selection; and
  4. The attorney-client relationship: client communication, legal visits, and issues of race, gender, mental health, and the trauma of incarceration.
  • Training attorneys on staff and outside the organization, including but not limited to:
  1. Annual training programs for incoming staff attorneys and pro bono attorneys on substantive, procedural, and practice-oriented criminal law topics;
  2. CLE and training programs for outside defender organizations and assigned counsel;
  3. Mentorship of staff attorneys in one-on-one and group settings; and
  4. Providing feedback and evaluations for staff attorneys.
  • Participate in office leadership and decision-making, including but not limited to:
  1. Advice on office-wide legal policies and best practices, in light of the needs of the clients and the impact of racial and class differences within the criminal legal systems;
  2. Recruitment and selection of staff;
  3. Supervision and management of caseloads for staff attorneys; and
  4. Supporting the development of an inclusive office culture that centers on racial equity.

Conclusion

The OAD’s macro environment is composed of different levels; hence, the organization has adopted numerous programs like policy advocacy on systemic reforms, reinvestigation projects, volunteer appellate defender programs, and represented people accused of sexual misconduct in response to the macro environment’s challenges. At the community level, the organization overcomes the lack of trust by applying empathetic and compassionate skills while communicating with the clients. It has also hired more experts in addressing the identification of error challenges within the organizational level. The OAD has also addressed the system level’s lack of justice by advocating for systemic reforms and policies. It has also increased representation, advocated for reforms, and implemented a volunteer appellate defender program and reinvestigation project to address the forms of prohibitions created by white supremacy and anti-black racism (Office of the Appellate Defender, 2021).

Because OAD recognizes the profound injustice in exonerations that occur years after sentencing, its Reinvestigation Project immediately reviews all OAD cases to identify potential wrongful convictions. OAD attorneys and investigators locate and interview witnesses, collect new evidence, consult with experts, pursue all possible evidence of innocence, and, where appropriate, file petitions for relief. OAD also monitors criminal justice trends and advocates for systemic reform of laws, policies, and procedures that adversely affect its clients and communities. By dedicating itself to innovation and remaining flexible and responsive to emerging criminal justice needs, OAD sets itself apart from traditional appellate defender offices and stands as a national model for indigent appellate defense representation. OAD is committed to developing and litigating innovative legal theories that most effectively demonstrate the injustices that our clients have experienced. OAD is committed to preserving a staff of lawyers with various experiences and backgrounds. Each OAD staff shares a deep commitment towards public service and defend the less fortunate.

OAD’s clients experience significant psychological impacts at the community level like depression, anxiety, and PTSD due to incarceration. The effects reduce the clients’ trust in other people, which poses a significant challenge to OAD since appellate representation requires absolute trust between OAD and the clients, as explained by Kovera. OAD overcomes the barrier by hiring the most qualified team to represent the clients properly. It also collaborates with other appellate defenders in identifying the errors at the organizational level. The OAD operates within the criminal justice system of New York. The organization has experienced a significant barrier due to impartiality within the criminal justice system at system level. Injustice in the criminal justice system has also reduced the possibility of overturning sentences which is a key obstacle.

References

Allen, T. (2012a). The invention of the white race (Vol. 1): Racial oppression and social control (J. B. Perry, Ed.). Verso.

Allen, T. (2012b). The invention of the white race (Vol. 2): The origin of racial oppression in Anglo-America (J. B. Perry, Ed.). Verso.

Bazemore, G & Stinchcomb, J. (2004). A civic engagement model of reentry: Involving community through service and restorative justice. Federal probation. Vol. 68. //www.uscourts.gov/file/23011/download

Center for Court Innovation, (2021). Restorative justice. https://www.courtinnovation.org/areas-of-focus/restorative-justice

Cissner, et al. (2019). “A national portrait of restorative approaches to intimate partner violence. Center for Court Innovation. https://www.courtinnovation.org/publications-RJ-IPV

Grossman, S. F., & Lundy, M. (2007). Domestic violence across race and ethnicity: Implications for social work practice and policy. Violence against women13(10), 1029-1052. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1077801207306018

Fanon, F. (1983). Pele negra máscaras brancas (A. Caldas, Trad, Coleção Outra Gente, 1). Rio de Janeiro: Fator. (Original publicado em 1952)

Hetey, R. C., & Eberhardt, J. L. (2018). The numbers don’t speak for themselves: Racial disparities and the persistence of inequality in the criminal justice system. Current Directions in Psychological Science27(3), 183-187. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0963721418763931

Haney-López, Ian. (2006). White by law: The legal construction of race. New York University Press.

McCarter, S. A. (2018). Racial disparities in the criminal justice system. In Encyclopedia of Social Work. https://oxfordre.com/socialwork/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.001.0001/acrefore-9780199975839-e-1289

Office of the Professions, (2021). “Social work” NYSED.gov. http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/sw/article154.htm#

Pettit, B., & Gutierrez, C. (2018). Mass incarceration and racial inequality. American Journal of Economics and Sociology77(3-4), 1153-1182. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ajes.12241

Rothstein, R. (2017). The color of law. Live right Publishing Corporation.

Sasson, E. & Allen, C. (2020). “Using restorative approaches to address intimate partner violence: A New York City blueprint. Center for Court Innovation. https://www.courtinnovation.org/publications/restorative-approaches-address-intimate-partner-violence

Willmott, D., & Van Olphen, J. (2005). Challenging the Health Impacts of Incarceration. Californian Journal of Health Promotion3(2), 38-48. https://doi.org/10.32398/cjhp.v3i2.1762

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