Holistic Defense

Holistic Defense is a partnership between Family Service Agency and the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office that aims to reduce recidivism by stabilizing the lives of justice-involved adults. A social worker joins the client’s legal defense team and helps the client address the root causes of their criminal behavior. Addressing the client’s social service needs so that their life stabilizes, the probability of re-offending decreases. Improved case outcomes can include fewer guilty charges, more dismissed charges, and shorter sentences.

Holistic Defense represents a cultural shift from focusing on the criminal act and resulting punishment to a client-centered approach addresses the underlying risk factors that contribute to an individual’s criminal actions.

The program began as a pilot study funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Today it is funded jointly by the Public Defender’s Office and Family Service Agency.

For further information contact:
Gabriela Dodson, LCSW
Holistic Defense Program Manager
Phone (805) 965-1001 ext.234