Posting: Lead Defender Support Unit Advocate - Detroit, MI

February 8, 2023

Wayne County's Indigent Defense Services Department is developing a staff of dedicated professionals who are committed to excellence in criminal defense representation at the trial court level, and equal access to justice. The IDSD is state funded through annual grants from the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC). In the new fiscal year, IDSD will create a Defender Support Unit (DSU) which will assist roster attorneys by providing services aimed at decreasing reliance on incarceration, increasing advocacy for indigent clients, and increasing collaboration between criminal justice stakeholders and social service providers.

Description of Major Job Duties

Reporting to the IDSD Assigned Counsel Administrator, the Lead Advocate will be responsible for creating and leading the development of a comprehensive defender support unit, including management of the day-to-day activities of the DSU. Once the Unit has been developed, the Lead Advocate will provide leadership to additional advocates within the unit.

Provide development, management and oversight of all program related tasks including administration of program policies and protocols, representing program at government and community stakeholder meetings, and maintaining all necessary paperwork to document program efforts and outcomes.

  • Facilitate comprehensive psychosocial assessments in the community and local jails to determine clients' basic demographic information, living situation, relationship and family dynamics, legal status, education history, employment history, physical health, mental health, substance use history, and self-identified goals and needs.
  • Identify and conduct interviews with family, friends, employers, and other support system members in the community who can aid in clients' success.
  • Based on a clinical review of assessment outcomes and interviews with family and other support systems, develop individualized alternative sentencing plans that, in consultation with the case attorney and client, recommend and advocate for community-based sentences and alternative community treatment as indicated.
  • As needed, coordinate and initiate facilitated referrals to community treatment and other services for clients prior to sentencing to ensure rapid engagement in services.
  • Maintain ongoing pre-trial client updates on progress through communication and collected documentation from community service providers and by conducting routine check-ins with clients.
  • Prepare clients and their families for court appearances by providing an overview of court policies and discussions on what to expect. Provide additional post court debriefings to reinforce next steps and ensure continuity of care into longer term systems of community treatment and services.
  • Accompany clients to court and participate in hearings as requested by the defense attorney. Provide additional information and support, as required.
  • Foster communication and connections with a wide array of community service providers while sustaining a comprehensive community referral network.
  • Provide supervision to additional DSU advocates, staff, and interns.
  • Perform all these tasks in collaboration with attorneys, courts, judges, community corrections, parole/probation, and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Eligible Persons

At the time of application, eligible persons must have:

  • A Master's Degree in Social Work combined with valid clinical social work licensure or certification in Michigan; AND
  • At least three years of paid full-time professional experience providing treatment services in a mental/behavioral health setting.

This is a temporary position

Equal Employment Opportunity

Wayne County provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to: recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training. For information regarding the Department of Justice - EEO Utilization Report, please visit

Accommodations If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact the Wayne County Department of Personnel/Human Resources at 313-224-5901 or via email at Hearing or speech impaired persons using TDD's or similar devices may contact the Michigan Relay Center, toll free at (800) 649-3777 or 711 to communicate directly with the Department of Personnel/Human Resources during regular working hours.


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