At least once a week, federal defender Deirdre von Dornum travels across Brooklyn to meet with her incarcerated clients. The round trip takes three hours, on a good day.
First von Dornum rides the subway. Then she walks half a mile to the Metropolitan Detention Center, a pair of nondescript high-rise buildings on the Brooklyn waterfront. At this point, she still has to wait — sometimes for hours — for guards to bring her client down from his cell.