Episode 211 - Sarah Beck Buchanan, Wright Kaminer, and Dr. Roger Nooe: The Community Law Office: An Integration of Social Work and Criminal Defense

Monday, March 13, 2017, 7:32:43 AM

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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.

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Average Rating: 5stars  great work being done here, Sunday, February 04, 2018

By Alexandria Meranto :

The innovative work being done at the Community Law Office sounds like it is critical for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Dr. Roger Nooe discussed how many of the clients that are seen at the CLO are people who have been stigmatized by society for the crimes they may have committed. This stigma means they must be used to rejection and judgment by the larger society. Because of this, it is incredible to know that when they are in communication with a staff member or intern at CLO, they are seen as a valuable individual who is worthy of help and respect. This really falls into line with the core values stated in the preamble of the NASW Code of Ethics, with particular attention to service, social justice, dignity, and worth of the person. As Social Workers, we are expected to promote the well-being of our clients and to put any personal values we may hold aside while we do our work. Since this can certainly be difficult at times because social workers are still humans after all, it is amazing that the interns here get the opportunity to learn this important lesson so early on in their SW careers. As a SW student who is currently in field placement, it was great to hear about the many ways interns are involved and utilized at the CLO. It really sounds like they leave with an abundance of new valuable skills and knowledge. The amount of education and staff guidance given to the interns makes it seem like this field placement is ideal for any student who is really ready to be fully engrossed in their learning. I agree with Laura Lewis, Ph.D when she said that it would be fantastic to have a similar field opportunity in our region. I’m certain the CLO will be able to prove that it is, as Dr. Nooe said, more cost effective and beneficial for these individuals to be back in the community as opposed to being in jail. The way people in the criminal justice system are dealt with has needed a revision, and I am so glad it is happening.

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Average Rating: 5stars  podcast episode 211, Saturday, January 27, 2018

By Jerry Farnett :

Thank you for this podcast! The infusion of Social Work practice into a Public Defender's Office is groundbreaking. It causes one to consider his own thoughts on those living in poverty. This holistic and client-centered approach makes great strides in leveling the field of the justice system. Indigent people, already oppressed by poverty and the systemic destitution that accompanies it, historically access fewer available services to assist in defense of the charges filed against them. Receiving support services across the helping array provides the client with a dedicated team and a tailored set of assistance providers. This benevolence is exactly in line with Social Work values of dignity and respect for all. I would wish to intern in such a place as the Knox County Public Defender's Office. The interaction with the lawyers would provide insight not only into law but also the social policies that influence law. I find the inclusion of interns from the disciplines of Sociology and Child and Family Studies intriguing. The addition of other academic areas gives credence to the holistic approach utilized. In addition, I recognize the wisdom and humanity of inviting the community to be a part of the office's mission through volunteering in the Youth Program, participating in the Ethics Program, and through the open and transparent manner in which the office functions. There is a great deal of good being accomplished through this office and it is notable that they are accomplishing all this with very little available resources. Perhaps over time this program will be seen as cost effective and therefore worthy of additional funds. Finally, beyond the value of cost effectiveness is the merit gained by seeing a person as an individual, worthy of rights based in human dignity and deserving of an opportunity for resilience. This podcast is an excellent reminder of why I am studying what I am studying during a time when Social Work is more relevant than ever.

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