Our Mission, Our Movement

In 1963, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Gideon v. Wainright that state courts are required under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases to represent defendants who are unable to afford to pay their own attorneys. That same year, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place in our nation’s capitol. Both occurrences marked a monumental shift towards equality in the justice system and social infrastructure in our country.

Although 1963 was a pivotal year for civil and human rights, our jails and prisons are still populated with people who are not receiving quality representation due to financial, structural and cultural changes needed in the criminal justice system. Many people in the system are overwhelmingly poor and disproportionately minorities. For them, Gideon’s promise remains unfulfilled and justice out of reach.

Public defenders are necessary if we are to realize equal justice in America. We are the voice for the voiceless.
Our Work Changes Lives
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Our mission is to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities.

Criminal Justice Innovation
We are the primary organization focused on transforming the culture of indigent defense.

We infuse a value-based approach into our public defender training programs. Our ongoing training and support creates the best public defenders in the country.

Meet Our Leadership

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