SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - A $65,000 grant has been awarded to the Santa Barbara County Public Defender and the Family Service Agency to expand the Holistic Defense Program.
The program integrates social services and legal representation in an effort to help women stabilize their lives and reduce reoffending.
The grant was given by the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara.
County Public Defender Tracy Macuga said the holistic defense shifts the focus from the criminal act and the punishment, to addressing the underlying risk factors that contribute to an individual’s criminal actions.
Within the Holistic Defense program, a licensed clinical advocate works with the public defender to make assessments and connections to treatment programs, as well as other needed services. Since women often are primary caregivers for minor children, female incarceration can have lasting impacts on entire families.