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Does Gideon's Promise Make a Difference?

With support from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, Gideon’s Promise and Measures for Justice teamed up to learn the true impact of criminal justice reform. ** MFJ used a quasi-experimental design to examine four similar counties located in the same Southern state. Three of the county public defender offices employ leadership staff and attorneys trained in the Gideon’s Promise values based approach. The fourth county functioned as a comparison county, having no Gideon's Promise attorneys.

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1. Pretrial

  • More likely to get pretrial diversion: Felony defendants in a Gideon's Promise county are more likely to receive pretrial diversion than those represented in the non-Gideon's Promise county.
  • Less likely to plead guilty: Defendants with Gideon's Promise attorneys are significantly less likely to enter a guilty plea than those represented by other counsel types.

2. Case Resolution

  • Closed more quickly: Gideon's Promise attorneys are disposing of their cases faster than attorneys in the comparison.

3. Sentencing

  • Incarcerated less often: Felony cases represented by Gideon's Promise attorney result in fewer sentences to incarceration than their public defender and other counsel counterparts.


  • These findings suggest Gideon’s Promise is actively working towards increasing the efficiency and fair administration of justice for everyone — not just better outcomes for the indigent defendants they represent.

Why Public Defense Matters?

There is a 52% chance a low-income Black man in America has been incarcerated.[3]

11 states provide “minimal to no state funding” for public defense, allowing local government to shoulder the cost.[3]

Prosecutors’ offices nationwide receive $3.5 billion more in annual funding than public defender offices.[3]

What does it mean to partner with Gideon's Promise?

Being a Gideon's Promise partner gives you the opportunity to support a community who is on the frontlines of justice representing marginalized communities across the nation. This opportunity allows your employees to engage within the public defense and social justice industry. Connect your brand with an organization that is transforming the culture of public defense and the criminal legal system as a whole.

With your support we can:

  • Decrease the incarceration rates of accused persons
  • Increase diversity in each incoming new public defender class
  • Build more partnerships with law schools through our Fellowship Program
  • Increase the number of client-centered defenders in offices nationally
  •  Improve the effectiveness of representation provided
  • Improve pre-trial diversion outcomes for clients represented by a Gideon's Promise trained attorney

We can not solve this need alone. We all need change agents like you who are committed to ending mass incarceration across the country. Together, we can create equitable justice for all people!

Volunteer resources

Become a Gideon's Promise Volunteer

Gideon's Promise and our public defender community embraces volunteers as essential workers in the effort to end mass incarceration within Black and brown communities. Our volunteers support our staff and public defenders at events, conferences, donor campaigns, and much more! Look at our events calendar here to see the various volunteer opportunities. Everyone can help in the fight for equal justice.

Ways to Keep the Promise

Employee Engagement

  • Court Watching
  • Volunteer
  • Clothing Drive
  • Sponsor an Event
  • Lunch & Learn
  • Winter & Summer Institute Observation

Event Sponsorship

Gideon's Promise events allows you to network with people in all industries from business to entertainment to public defense. Our events bring together Gideon's Promise volunteers, board members, staff, and other community partners each year to learn, engage, advocate, and keep the promise of equality. Each our event sponsorship packages provides the opportunity to select the level of support based on their mission and marketing needs.

Volunteer Media



Protecting This Promise

You don't have to be a public defender to protect the promise of zealous counsel for all. Your monthly contribution--no matter the amount--will directly impact the fate of a client accused of a crime, who didn't know they needed you.