A Team Approach to Client-Centered Representation.

Defender Association attorneys represent clients in adult and juvenile state courts, at civil and criminal mental health hearings, and as child advocates for children with open dependent petitions.

Assistant defenders rotate assignments through units and divisions within the organization as part of a comprehensive training process. Every Defender attorney is a licensed member of the Pennsylvania Bar and is not permitted to have a private practice or to take part in partisan political activity.

Defender attorneys are part of a team including social workers, paralegals, mitigation specialists, investigators, and administrative professionals who play critical roles serving our clients and communities.

As we are driven by outcomes, we focus on getting people out of the criminal justice system in the early stages to avoid an arduous process that can be detrimental to clients, families, and communities.

Pre-Entry Support:

Incarceration pre-trial often leaves individuals more desperate. The Defender works in partnership with community groups and justice partners to support clients pre-trial. By helping individuals to keep their homes, jobs, and connection to social services and supports, the Defender team can achieve fair outcomes and support stronger, safer communities.

Re-Entry Programs:

The Defender helps individuals successfully transition back to their communities following incarceration, through job training, social service programs, and other community-based solutions.

Criminal Justice Reform:

The Defender leadership team works with justice partners and stakeholders to support policy changes to change the culture of mass incarceration. By working to end cash bail, reform probation/parole detainers, support successful diversion programs, and empower communities to play a more active role in the criminal justice process, we can fundamentally change our system to reduce racial disparities and end our over-reliance on incarceration.

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