Skip to Content

“A lot of students come in labeling our clients as offenders or criminals or what have you, which is really easy to do. I think that they learn here through some challenging circumstances that we are working with a population of people who are worthy of relationships and help. . .”

Sarah Beck Buchanan,
Wright Kaminer, &
Dr. Roger Nooe

In the United States, there are more than ten million criminal arrests each year. It is well known that many of those arrested also have a number of personal and environmental issues that not only shape their daily lives but can also be influential in their arrests and affect their defense and sentencing. In this episode, Sarah Beck Buchanan, Wright Kaminer, and Dr. Roger Nooe of the Knox County Public Defender’s Office discuss their program, which has social workers working in collaboration with public defense attorneys with the goal of producing better legal outcomes by addressing the psychosocial needs of their clients.

Sarah Beck Buchanan, LCSW, is director of social services at the Public Defender’s Community Law Office (CLO). She received a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan. Currently a licensed clinical social worker, she worked in community mental health before joining the CLO staff as a forensic social worker in 2012. Ms. Beck Buchanan is also a PhD student at the UT College of Social Work. Her research interests include forensic social work and the impact of proactive and support-oriented social work intervention on recidivism.

Wright Kaminer, LCSW, joined the Public Defender’s Community Law Office staff as a forensic social worker in 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from The College of William and Mary and an MSSW from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. During her MSSW program, she completed internships with Helen Ross McNabb Jail-Based Services and the VA Knoxville Outpatient Clinic. Prior to coming to the CLO, Ms. Kaminer was employed as a clinical therapist at a community social service agency. She is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of NOFSW and NASW.

Roger Nooe, PhD, LCSW, is education consultant and former director of social services at the Public Defender’s Community Law Office. He has worked with the office since 2000. He is professor emeritus of Social Work at the University of Tennessee, having served on the faculty for 30 years. Dr. Nooe graduated from Maryville College and has MSW and PhD degrees from Tulane University. His experience includes positions with the Kentucky Department of Mental Health, Bluegrass Comprehensive Care Center, and in private practice and program consultation. During the past 25 years, he has actively researched homelessness and has authored biennial reports on Knox area homelessness. Dr. Nooe chaired the Mayors’ task force to develop the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and later served as the director of the implementation office for the plan.

Interviewer: Laura Lewis, PhD

Show Notes

Join the discussion

More from this show

The inSocialWork Podcast

The inSocialWork Podcast