SAN DIEGO–The County Public Defender honored Father Joe Carroll, recognizing a ten-year collaboration to help homeless people overcome their fears of the legal system and get their lives back on track.
St. Vincent de Paul Village has worked with the Office of the Public Defender since 1999 to host the homeless court program at its facility every other month. The program allows clients to resolve outstanding misdemeanor warrants without having to appear in a courtroom and uses alternative sentences to encourage self-sufficiency through activities such as life-skills and employment training, chemical dependency treatment, counseling, and volunteer work.
“The fact that they can face the reality and get this burden lifted through the program allows them to look at how they can really change their lives and make a difference in the world,” said Carroll.
County Public Defender Henry Coker presented a plaque of appreciation to Carroll today at the Public Defender’s office in downtown San Diego, not only for supporting the homeless court program, but for the many services St. Vincent de Paul Village offers that benefit the community.
“Father Joe and St. Vincent de Paul Village truly live up to the organization’s creed of ‘neighbor helping neighbor.’ The leadership and work of Father Joe helps people get the assistance they need to get back on their feet,” said Henry Coker, County of San Diego Public Defender.
The County Office of the Public Defender originated the concept of the homeless court, which has been duplicated in other parts of the state and country.