AmeriCorps Opportunities


Missouri State Public Defender’s Holistic Defense Services team has partnered with AmeriCorps Missouri to pioneer a more holistic approach to public defense in Missouri – an approach that seeks to address the underlying needs and risk factors that so many of our clients share – and which are often what led to their involvement in the criminal legal system in the first place.

Holistic Advocates will have the unique opportunity to participate in the launch of MSPD’s Holistic Defense Services program and truly impact the way Missouri’s criminal legal system works.  Your efforts can help transform this system into one that is more humane and equitable and that recognizes that all people deserve to be treated respectfully and with dignity.

Holistic Advocates will go into their local communities to build engagement with service providers and help connect our clients to available resources.  Holistic Advocates will also work with attorneys to provide mitigation support to help clients avoid unnecessary pretrial detention and to make sure our clients’ lives and experiences are taken into consideration throughout their case. Through their work, Holistic Advocates will have the opportunity to make direct, lasting, and meaningful change for our clients and their communities.

MCSC AmeriCorps logo with dark blue and red designSpecifically, AmeriCorps Missouri Holistic Advocates will be responsible for:

  • Connecting clients to local resources for housing, mental health care, substance addiction treatment, transportation, etc.
  • Conducting psychosocial history interviews with clients
  • Interviewing mitigation witnesses and collecting letters of support
  • Assisting attorneys in developing mitigation themes
  • Drafting mitigation memoranda for use in criminal cases
  • Engaging with community partners to build relationships and address barriers our clients face in accessing services
  • Collecting data tracking the impact of this work

Holistic Advocates will work within their local trial office and collaborate with attorneys, clients, and support staff, as well as with their regional and the statewide Holistic Defense Services team.  Extensive training and support will be provided.

Required Minimum Education and Experience

Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, or equivalent experience. Preference for specialization in social work, psychology, sociology, or closely related field.

Qualified candidates will be empathetic, resourceful, non-judgmental, organized, and will have a passion for public service. Candidates must have an ability to build rapport and trust with people from a diverse range of backgrounds and identities and should have strong writing and advocacy skills.

Living Stipend/Benefits

Candidates who are able to commit to full-time service are preferred. Part-time service options are available at all service sites, please contact us for more information. There is also a possibility of some remote work.

Full-time Holistic Advocates will be eligible for $33,004/yr (before taxes) living allowance, pro-rated and paid in regular bi-monthly increments; member health care coverage for members who are not otherwise covered by a health care policy; a $6,495 education award at the end of the term; and professional development training.

For a more comprehensive look at AmeriCorps State benefits, visit AmeriCorps Member Benefits.

Many universities offer scholarships, application fee waivers, and other benefits to AmeriCorps members. You can find school-specific details on the Schools of National Service list.

We also welcome current students to apply. Ask us about the potential for partnering with your institution for practicum or course credit.

Current Openings

Farmington, Fulton, Lebanon, and St. Joseph

To Apply

To apply for the position, visit the AmeriCorps opportunity listing here.


VISTA Members will develop the framework for a holistic approach in the pre-trial stage of criminal proceedings, allowing for MSPD to help address the underlying needs of poor defendants, improving case outcomes, life outcomes, and the economic opportunity of our clients and their communities.

AmeriCorps Logo

Specifically, VISTA members will be responsible for:

  • Reviewing actions taken in first year of the project, as well as current regulations, tools, and procedures related to MSPD client intake and any existing efforts to address the extralegal needs of MSPD clients
  • Conducting internal analysis to identify the regional needs of clients, the resources that have already been identified and the quality of existing connections
  • Conferring with holistic defense organizations and MSPD staff experienced in social work initiatives to understand successful strategies to aid clients outside of the courtroom
  • Investigating local community resources that can partner with MSPD in addressing the needs of clients, developing working relationships and mapping out community resources with detailed guides for MSPD staff
  • Establishing organizational standards for the assessment of client needs, the connecting of clients to resources and collection of project data and providing direct support to MSPD staff
  • Producing a report outlining the intervention strategies and summarizing collected data and more

Those who wish to have a positive impact on the criminal legal system and its intersection with poverty and social instability in Missouri are encouraged to join us in our effort to support our vulnerable community members and deliver a more equitable approach to the criminal legal system. Qualified candidates will be inquisitive, collaborative, resourceful, open-minded, effective at expressing complex concepts and hold a passion for public service. Preferred candidates will display effective leadership, organization, communication and project management skills. Ideal candidates will have excellent attention to detail, strong computer skills, and a general knowledge of statistics or data collection. The project will take place from 12/5/2022 until 12/5/2023 and will be based out of the Office of the Director in Columbia, Missouri. Remote work is a possibility.

To apply for the position, visit the AmeriCorps opportunity listing here