Eisenberg Award

Awarded annually, the Eisenberg Award is handed out by the Public Defender Board in recognition of those who have had a substantial impact on the indigent defense community, the rights of our poorest citizens and/or the criminal justice system. The award is named in honor of Dean Howard Eisenberg.

2019 Recipient:
Bill Harrigan
of Grafton's Harrigan Solutions who created an initiative to hire individuals involved in the justice system and, through extensive training and mentoring, have them work towards a better future.

Prior Recipients:
Representative Joan Ballweg
for authoring legislation that created a pilot program & funding for the SPD to represent parents subject to CHIPS, and Running Rebels for its 40-year track record of providing positive choices and programming for Milwaukee youth.

Wraparound Milwaukee for its comprehensive community-based care model for children with emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs, and David Riemer for leading the writing of the statute that ultimately created the SPD in the late 1970s.

Attorneys Jerry Buting and Dean Strang for educating the public about, among other subjects, the Wisconsin justice system and the importance of increasing the private bar rate, and Dane County's Horizon High School for providing educational opportunities for students recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

The Walworth County Jail Literacy Program for its impact on inmates and the community, and Tony Streveler, former Department of Corrections' Director of Research and Policy, for his impact on statewide policies and programs including Assess, Inform, Measure (AIM).

Representative John Nygren for his groundbreaking HOPE (Heroin, Opiate Prevention and Education) legislation, and Ginny VandenBranden for her Challenges and Possibilities Program in the Green Bay Correctional Institution.

The University of Wisconsin Law School and the Marquette Law School for their respective clinical programs that offer law students unique educational experiences.

Milwaukee County Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers for leading Milwaukee County in adopting significant changes in its criminal justice system.

Wisconsin Counties Association for its long-time support of updating the SPD’s eligibility criteria.

Nicholas L. Chiarkas for his 22 years of innovative and courageous leadership as Wisconsin State Public Defender.

Wisconsin Veterans Intervention Program (WI-VIP) contributors: Judge James Daley, Rock County Circuit Court Presiding Judge; Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs; UW-Law School’s Frank J. Remington Center; Dr. Dean Krahn; Wm S. Middleton Memorial Hospital’s Mental Health Services Chief.

Sister Esther Heffernan in recognition of her longtime dedication to peace and justice.

Wisconsin Association of Treatment Court Professionals in recognition of it’s efforts to develop and strengthen treatment courts throughout Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Bar Association and its Legal Services to the Indigent Defense Committee in recognition of their dedication and ongoing efforts in support of indigent defense in Milwaukee as well as in Wisconsin.

Representative Terri McCormick in recognition of her leadership role in legislation that updated the SPD's eligibility criteria.