Keisha Hudson on FY 2024 Budget

The Defender’s budget increase shows our City leaders understand the value of a well-funded public defenders office.

PHILADELPHIA–“On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, I’d like to thank the Kenney Administration and City Council for proposing and passing a budget that includes a significant funding increase for our office.

“While our primary role is providing free legal counsel for those accused of crimes, we believe that connecting our clients to supportive services is the key to keeping them out of prison and on the path to brighter futures. To that end, the Defender Association will be putting the additional funds to good use. Most notably, we’ll be adding more social workers and attorneys to support our children and youth clients. The increase will also allow us to collaborate with Partners for Justice, whose advocates will work alongside our attorneys, connecting clients to healthcare, employment, housing and other needs.

“We appreciate the City of Philadelphia for recognizing that, when it comes to creating healthier, safer communities, a well-funded public defender is every bit as important as the investments we make in law enforcement and other areas of the justice system.”

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Talking Community Outreach with Guy Lang

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1682706311203{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;background-color: #263797 !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1682706531697{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}”]Guy Lang, the Defender’s Director of Youth Programs and Community Outreach, stopped by the Germantown Info Hub podcast to talk about his grassroots approach to working with community members, and share information on the Jr. Defender and other Defender Association outreach programs. Listen to the episode below.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1682706500919{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;background-color: #263797 !important;}”][vc_column][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Talking Public Defense Funding on “Philly Speaks”

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1682016102458{background-color: #c0eefd !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]On April 16, Keisha Hudson joined Senator Vincent Hughes and Rep. Napoleon Nelson on Hughes’s “Philly Speaks” radio  program (WRNB) to discuss public defense funding in PA. Listen to the full discussion.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_video link=”″ align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Testimony: Committee on Gun Violence Prevention

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1681765453980{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]On April 17, Chief Defender Keisha Hudson presented testimony before City Council’s Committee on Gun Violence Prevention. The Defender’s testimony offered data and proposed solutions on ways to address the conditions that push too many of Philadelphia’s young people toward gun possession.

Watch Keisha’s testimony below, and click here to read the full written testimony submitted to City Council. submitted by the Defender.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1681765467994{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”][vc_column][vc_video link=”″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Keisha Hudson on “New Thinking” Podcast

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Listen to a snippet from Keisha Hudson here

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Chief Defender Keisha Hudson joins Michigan Law’s Eve Primus, and Brooklyn Law Center’s Alexis Hoag-Fordjour to discuss the groundbreaking yet unfulfilled legacy of Gideon v. Wainwright. 

Listen to the full podcast below:[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20″][vc_raw_html]JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwc3R5bGUlM0QlMjJib3JkZXItcmFkaXVzJTNBMTJweCUyMiUyMHNyYyUzRCUyMmh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGb3Blbi5zcG90aWZ5LmNvbSUyRmVtYmVkJTJGc2hvdyUyRjZEZkpJd3NueGxnRjF2OHZrRHdvcGolM0Z1dG1fc291cmNlJTNEZ2VuZXJhdG9yJTIyJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjIxMDAlMjUlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIxNTIlMjIlMjBmcmFtZUJvcmRlciUzRCUyMjAlMjIlMjBhbGxvd2Z1bGxzY3JlZW4lM0QlMjIlMjIlMjBhbGxvdyUzRCUyMmF1dG9wbGF5JTNCJTIwY2xpcGJvYXJkLXdyaXRlJTNCJTIwZW5jcnlwdGVkLW1lZGlhJTNCJTIwZnVsbHNjcmVlbiUzQiUyMHBpY3R1cmUtaW4tcGljdHVyZSUyMiUyMGxvYWRpbmclM0QlMjJsYXp5JTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGaWZyYW1lJTNF[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Keisha Hudson on First Year of Driving Equality Law


Driving Equality has had a significant impact in cutting down racially-motivated pretextual stops, and no negative impact on public safety.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]PHILADELPHIA–“The Defender Association of Philadelphia joins Councilmember Isaiah Thomas in celebration of the one year anniversary of the Driving Equality Law, and thanks him for his vision and leadership in making this law a reality in Philadelphia.

“I also want to highlight the Defender’s Police Accountability Unit for the outstanding work they’ve done to compile and analyze the data that guides the purpose of this law–reducing the number of unnecessary, negative encounters between police and community members. The data is clear: Driving Equality has had a significant impact in cutting down racially-motivated pretextual stops, while having no negative impact on public safety.

“To truly appreciate Driving Equality, we should look beyond what the law does, and celebrate the thoughtful, evidence-based and collaborative approach to its creation. Driving Equality didn’t just happen–it is the culmination of months of debate, discussion and collaboration between City leaders, the Defender Association, the police and the community. Driving Equality is being studied and replicated by other American cities because it’s a great example of a ‘good government’ law that takes a balanced, data-driven approach to public safety and racial justice.

“The Defender Association is proud to be recognized for our subject matter expertise in this area, and are thankful for the opportunity we’ve been given to work with Councilmember Thomas and his team on this now nationally recognized model legislation.

“We’re committed to working together with elected leaders, justice system and community stakeholders on future endeavors to increase trust and cooperation between Philadelphia residents and institutions.

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating one year of Driving Equality, and hope that this law is the first of many legislative initiatives aimed at making Philadelphia a more just and safe city.”

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Keisha Hudson on Abolishing the Death Penalty in PA


Abolishing the Death Penalty would save the lives of many incarcerated people from Philadelphia.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]PHILADELPHIA–“The Defender Association of Philadelphia applauds and supports Governor Shapiro’s call for the Pennsylvania Legislature to abolish the death penalty.

“We know that the death penalty is not a crime deterrent or an avenue to increased public safety. Moreover, many, if not most of the people sitting on death row in Pennsylvania facilities are former Philadelphia residents who do not deserve to be put to death.

“The work of our community allies around compassionate release has demonstrated that many of the people languishing for decades in prison could be safely returned to their communities, and even be positive agents for change in neighborhoods experiencing high levels of violence.

“The Defender Association thanks Governor Shapiro for his leadership on this issue. We will lend our expertise and advocacy to any efforts toward legislation that will end this archaic practice once and for all.”

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Black History Month Racial Justice Screening Series


The Defender & Nat Turner Law School are hosting special screenings and discussions centered on promoting antiracism in our justice system.

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Want to participate remotely in any of the panel discussions on these films? Register using the links below

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February 9, 12 – 2 pm:

“Deeply Rooted: When the King Comes Home” (Watch here)

Panel: Radee Hammett and Michael Coard


February 16, 12 – 3 pm:

“Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America” (Watch at

Panel led by: Michael Coard

Register here to join the discussion


February 22, 12 – 3 pm:

“Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” (Watch on Netflix)

Panel: Timothy Welbeck and Michael Coard

Register here to join the discussion


February 27, 12 – 1:30 pm:

“57 Blocks: a Defender Jawn”

Panel: Christina Tavares, Mary Archer, Radi Allah, Guy Lang and Michael Coard

Register here to join the discussion


February 28, 12 – 3 pm:

“Just Mercy” (Watch on HBO Max)

Panel: Michael Coard, Maleeka Jihad and Keisha Hudson

Register here to join the discussion[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Junior Defender Program

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About the Junior Defender Program

The Junior Defender Program coordinates with school administrators to reach out to students in neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. The program provides these students with a foundational understanding of the youth justice system in Philadelphia.

We work alongside middle and high school students to develop age-appropriate and culturally responsive teaching materials that will improve our young clients’ understanding of youth justice system and court-ordered obligations. 

The goal of the program is to reduce the impact of the school-to-prison pipeline, and instead build a pipeline of young people interested in pursuing careers dedicated to the legal defense of adjudicated youth.

The videos below are one of the ways we introduce students to the issues and topics discussed in our Junior Defender sessions: [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1663263795856{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;background-color: #eeeeee !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1663263761326{background-color: #eeeeee !important;}”][vc_video link=”” title=”Junior Defender: Intro Video”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_video link=”” title=”Junior Defender: Treat Kids Like Kids!”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1663264338235{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;background-color: #c0eefd !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

To learn more about the Junior Defender Program, Contact Guy Lang (


Defender Statement on Conditions at JJSC


PHILADELPHIA–“The Defender Association of Philadelphia shares the serious concerns of City Council and our community partners about the unsafe conditions in the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center (JJSC).

“Conditions at the JJSC, where our young people are held pending resolution of their cases, are unsafe for the youth, the counselors who supervise the young people housed there, and the medical staff, attorneys, educators, and other supportive professionals who enter the facility every day to serve the children in the facility. Insufficient staffing and overpopulation has limited the children’s access to medical care and educational services, and contributed to multiple reports of assaults among those being held there.

“But simply transporting young people who are waiting for placements, without addressing the underlying needs of the detained population, will not improve the situation. As the legal representatives of many of these children, the Defender recommends that we:

  • be more thoughtful about who is being sentenced to these placements – often located hours away from the young person’s home, school, and community;
  • be more judicious in the use of the detention center to house children with pending charges or other alleged infractions; 
  • make sure we’re making the best use of the alternatives to detention, like GPS monitoring and reporting centers that are available; and finally,
  • partner with community-based organizations here in Philadelphia to connect youth and their families with critically needed wraparound services.

“Many young people at the JJSC  have been detained for periods that are longer than  programs they would be sentenced to complete. They should be home, attending school, and receiving direct supports and services–not continuing to be exposed to ongoing traumas in an overcrowded and understaffed facility.”

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