On May 16th, Tina Luongo, Chief Defender of The Legal Aid Society, was awarded the Amelia Betanzos Distinguished Service Award from FEDCAP during the Annual Spring Cocktail Party at The Mezzanine, 55 Broadway. Tina was honored for her extraordinary contributions to justice reform.
As part of the evening's program, guests were treated to a special video that presented the chapters of Tina's life that brought her to The Legal Aid Society and saw her launch a career dedicated to reform.
As Chief Defender at The Legal Aid Society, Tina leads a dedicated staff of over 1,100, who are responsible for representing more than 200,000 people in trial, post-conviction and parole matters. Under Tina’s leadership, The Legal Aid Society opened a first-ever Digital Forensic Unit focused on criminal defense, launched the Cop Accountability and Decarceration Projects, and increased the capacity of every trial office to provide the highest quality representation to clients.
Tina also spearheaded the Decarceration Project, a city-wide campaign to reduce and eventually eliminate the pre-trial incarceration of poor people in NYC – in 2018, close to 47,000 people will be incarcerated before their cases are heard simply because they can't afford bail. Tina has also lent significant support to The Women’s Project, Fedcap’s initiative to assist women in pre-trial detention at Rikers Island, connecting them with essential services, providing a strong community network and offering supportive workshops to help them on their path to wellness and economic stability.