Program Director, The International Legal Foundation
Gideon’s Promise Alumni 2013

During my first few months as a public defender, I encountered a problem I had never faced before. I could not figure out how to do my job well. I had navigated jobs with perverse incentives in the past, some with success. I had also shipped my share of burgers out the window missing pickles or lettuce because it was more important to “move a car” in under two minutes than to give the car’s driver what she paid for. The incentives in the courthouse were more perverse, the costs to human beings were unimaginably higher, but none of this was new to me. It was just another machine grinding up human lives.   Full Review Here 






Public Defender Group 

Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice” tells the story of how one of the most important civil rights organizations of this generation came to be. In telling this story, Rapping educates us about public defender systems, namely in the South, that have been corrupted by a racist criminal system ruled by judges and prosecutors with little regard for the Constitutional rights of those before it, let alone their humanity.  Full Review Here 





Forthcoming 2021

In this brief review, we situate Rapping’s work among those demanding criminal justice reform, praise an unrelated bonus, and propose a friendly amendment to nudge his vision over the finish line of justice. It will not be enough to provide newly enabled and supported public defenders to those our systems consider indigent. We ought to provide them to us all. Full Review Here







Get the Data

Review by Alan Mackie, Director of Get the Data 

In his book Rapping argues that a transformation of the criminal justice system can be achieved via public defenders. He sees them as agents of change who should not only assert the rights of their clients but also their humanity. Too often, those who wield power in the justice system simply view the person before them as a “super-predator”, a member of a dangerous class who deserves the most punitive treatment. Rarely are they considered to be a son, a mother, or a valued member of a community. So, in challenging such preconceptions, public defenders should reveal their clients as fellow citizens who are entitled to the presumption of innocence and equality under the law.  Full Review Here




“Useful reading for anyone interested in helping to change a deeply flawed system.” – Kirkus Reviews

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