Last week in Milwaukee, President Biden said he’d like to increase the funding available to public defenders across the country.
John Patrick Gross with the UW-Madison Public Defender Project says it will take more than just more money to help balance criminal justice in the country.
“People like to sort of tongue-in-cheek say that ‘Freedom isn’t free.’ Well, neither is justice but we treat it as if we can always skimp on Justice.”
Gross says throwing more money at the issue won’t stop the root cause of not having enough attorneys to represent people. “We should be taking a hard look at the policies, the practices, the funding discrepancies that have gotten us to the point where we leave the world in per capita incarceration.”
Gross says that most people who enter the justice system don’t have the money to hire attorneys as it is, so having public defenders needs to be treated like an integral part of the system.