Community Partnerships

COMMUNITY TRANSFORMING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

Participatory defense hubs help individuals and families navigate the criminal justice system.

Participatory Defense Hubs

Participatory defense hubs utilize trained community volunteers to provide insight, perspective, and support to those being charged and their families as they navigate the justice system.

Trained volunteers and facilitators give participants a deeper understanding of the justice process, what is expected from them at each stage, and suggestions to help them prepare for meetings with their attorney, court dates, and other steps of the process.

Philadelphia’s participatory defense hubs use a process-oriented model to prepare and empower people navigating the criminal justice system and offer community support to help clients achieve just outcomes. In 2018, the city’s first three participatory defense hubs began hosting weekly meetings. The hubs help clients achieve better outcomes in coordination with attorneys and informed, engaged volunteers.

Participatory defense received national acclaim in 2018. Raj Jayadev, creator of program who currently works with the Defender Association as a Stoneleigh fellow, received a MacArthur Genius fellowship to expand participatory defense to cities across the nation. Jayadev believes Philadelphia’s efforts to create a community of hubs will serve as a national model.

The work of Philly’s participatory defense hubs is supported by the Malinda R. Farrow Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation and the
R.K. Mellon Family Foundation.

For information on how you or your organization can support this important work,
contact Kavita Goyal: kgoyal@philadefender.org

Participatory Defense Hub Locations

The participatory defense hub movement is growing! There are currently seven active hubs across the city, with an eight expected to start up in 2021. Contact any of the locations below for more information. Click here for a printable list of Hub locations and meeting schedules.

Best Outcomes Hub

Mothers in Charge
2839 W. Girard Ave. 1st Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Info: (215) 228-1718

South Philly Hub

Circle of Hope Church
2212 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145
Info: (484) 440-9560

West Philly Hub

Kingsessing Recreation Center
4901 Kingsessing Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Info: (267) 766-0097 

Germantown Hub

Janes Memorial United Methodist Church
47 East Haines Street
Philadelphia, PA
Info: (267) 277-3117

Youth Hub

Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP)
924 Cherry St, 5th Floor
Philadelphia, PA
Info: (267) 571-9277

North Philly Hub

Zion Baptist Church
3600 N. Broad Street
Info: (267) 571-9365

Kensington Hub

Esperanza Health Center
861 E. Allegheny #200
Info: (267) 279-9373

West Philly Shepard-Haddington Hub

T. Shepard Recreation Center
5700 Haverford Avenue

Want a printable list of Philly’s Participatory Defense Hub locations and meeting schedules?

Humanizing the Justice Process

Participatory defense hubs provide insight, perspective, and support to those being charged and their families as they navigate the justice system.

Know Your Systems trainings

Hub facilitators receive a comprehensive training provided by the Defender Association that goes through each step of the criminal justice process from arrest to appeals, highlighting what participants and community supporters can do to support just outcomes at every stage.

Support at meetings

Hub participants gain a deeper understanding of the justice process, what is expected from them at each stage, and suggestions for what they should discuss with their attorney.

Social biographies

Hub facilitators and volunteers, in cooperation with defense attorneys, work with clients to produce social biography packets and videos for district attorneys, judges, and others to show a more comprehensive view of a defendant that goes beyond a case file.

Showing up to court

Hub volunteers track every case and every court date. Hub volunteers often attend hearings and trials to make sure that the client’s community support is active and visible throughout the process.