2015 Recipient

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Where presented : 
NLADA Annual Conference
Recipient organization: 
Orleans Public Defenders
Recipient organization city: 
New Orleans
Recipient organization state: 
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

Each year, thousands of men, women, and children come into the criminal justice system; almost 85 percent of them are appointed a public defender, too poor to afford an attorney. The Orleans Public Defenders Office provides client-centered, community-oriented representation in criminal, juvenile, municipal, or traffic court, protecting the guarantees of the Constitution and working for a more open and inclusive, fair, and just criminal justice system.

Created in the wake of a complete criminal justice system failure following Hurricane Katrina, OPD has become the benchmark for public defense in Louisiana. OPD represents nearly 20,000 people each year; has made significant advances in juvenile mitigation, bond advocacy, and mental health representation; and laid the groundwork to reduce recidivism with diversion and alternatives to incarceration programs. Recognized as the 2009 Southern Center for Human Rights Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award, OPD fights to make a difference in our clients’ lives in the courtroom and beyond.