New SWIFT Defense Social Worker Begins Work

Kaysee Brabb is the new SWIFT Defense social worker serving female criminal defendants in the 7th, 10th, 12th, 13th, and 25th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Corporations. Kaysee is a West Virginia native who grew up in Pipestem and is a December 2020 graduate of Concord University’s Master of Social Work program. Kaysee also earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Concord. Kaysee says she has a passion for helping others, and loves music, art, and traveling.

In her role as the SWIFT Defense social worker Kaysee will be working with, advocating for, and empowering female criminal defendants who have unique and gender-specific treatment needs as they intersect with the criminal legal system. Using the General Self-Efficacy Scale to determine a female defendant’s personal agency (the degree to which she believes she is able to cope with and influence successful outcomes in her life) and Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire (identifying all forms of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction occurring prior to the age of 18), Kaysee will be able to identify the unmet needs, underlying goals, and inherent strengths of the women she serves.

SWIFT Defense of Women targets female criminal defendants in five public defender corporations because West Virginia women are incarcerated  at disproportionately higher rates than women across the nation. The reason West Virginia women face incarceration and subsequent prison sentences at such high rates is due to social drivers and social determinants. SWIFT Defense of Women intervenes into the social drivers of women’s incarceration (trauma, mental illness, substance use, economic opportunity) by properly assessing women’s underlying needs then linking them to treatment and other services. This allows them to exit the criminal legal system with improved social determinants.

The WV Economic Justice Project: SWIFT Defense of Women (Social Worker Intervention for Trauma-Informed Defense of Women) has been made possible in part by a grant from The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donor Advised Fund. If you would like more information or are interested in referring a female defendant to SWIFT Defense of Women, please contact Stephanne Thornton at (304) 352-0169.

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