Gideon’s Promise Blazes Trails in Supporting Public Defenders in the Fight to End Mass Incarceration


 Atlanta, GA, June 14, 2022. Gideon’s Promise is a non-profit public defender organization whose mission is to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities. As part of their mission to train, develop and support public defenders, Gideon’s Promise is launching a new national campaign: Keep Gideon’s Promise.” The public service announcement (PSA) and digital campaign’s objective is to generate awareness about the importance of public defenders, and how their work is essential in protecting the civil rights of America’s most vulnerable citizens. Gideon’s Promise is celebrating 15 years in fighting to end mass incarceration, which makes the campaign’s timing even more impactful. It’s time the country takes notice of the important work of public defenders.

Gideon’s Promise is named after the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Gideon v. Wainwright. In this landmark decision, the Court ruled that the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution guarantee a right of legal counsel to anyone accused of a crime.

The significance of public defenders has recently been highlighted with the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who served as a federal public defender in her tenure and will be the first criminal defense lawyer appointed to the U.S. Supreme court in 30 years. Public defenders provide an essential and unique perspective to the Supreme Court due to their zealous representation and advocacy of the country’s most marginalized people.

“As the Executive Director of an organization that is 100% devoted to supporting public defenders, and as a parent of children who will inherit the world we shape today, I long for a tomorrow where individuals can live freely without fear of a government that is abusive towards those it governs. I am optimistic that our new campaign, that focuses on the tremendous value of public defenders, will shine a bright light on how we can all be a part of keeping Gideon’s promise,” said Ilham Askia, Gideon’s Promise Executive Director.

The PSA strategy, created by Gideon’s Promise, produced, and sponsored by Syco Entertainment in partnership with Tongal, and directed by Bobby Webster Filmmakers, was brought to life by featuring actual public defenders that have gone through various Gideon’s Promise’s programs, and were able to speak on their personal experiences in the same impactful way they represent and share the stories of their clients.

“This is such a remarkable time. The long over-due attention and respect being shown to public defenders because of Judge Jackson’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court is refreshing. For 15 years, Gideon’s Promise has not only trained public defenders, but it also created a community for these often unseen and under-resourced essential workers to continue their part in the transforming the system. This PSA will be the first of its kind to spotlight actual public defenders that maintain focused, undeterred, and courageous in the fight for justice,” said Jon Rapping, Gideon’s Promise Founder & President.

Gideon’s Promise’s “Keep Gideon’s Promise” campaign will begin running on broadcast television on June 13 and will run through December 11, 2022.




About Gideon’s Promise

Gideon’s Promise is a 501(c)(3) public defender organization whose mission is to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities.  Founded in 2007 by Jonathan Rapping, the organization has grown from a single training program for sixteen attorneys in two public defender offices in Georgia and Louisiana to a national enterprise with 1,500 participants in 45 public defender offices across 27 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization’s initial three-year program for new public defenders has expanded into a comprehensive program model that supports public defenders at all levels of their career.