Our impact

Partners for Justice was founded to transform public defense locally and across the United States to ensure that race and wealth no longer determine legal outcomes.

Our IMPACT

Supporting those in need, transforming the system

Partners for Justice is transforming public defenders into a robust network of dynamic, people-centered service centers to reduce incarceration, increase equity, and positively impact the lives of those harmed by cycles of incarceration, poor health, and poverty. Since 2018 they have connected thousands of people with stabilizing services and eliminated over 200 years of jail time.

Key facts and statistics
  • PFJ started in 2 cities in 2018 and will be in  20 locations by July 2022.
  • 95% of attorneys feel better able to assist clients with non-criminal matters.
  • PFJ has robust success, achieving service goals (connections to housing, benefits access, etc) about 75% of the time.
  • On average clients get 3+ services a piece, some get as many as 12 services.

-75,000

DAYS IN JAIL

Our team has saved clients an estimated 75,000 days in jail, yielding millions of dollars in potential taxpayer savings

4,300

MORE LIKELY

4,300+ clients connected with community-based social services

EMBEDDED TEAMS

Advocating for justice

After an elderly client spent five years experiencing homelessness, our Advocate finally managed to get him approved for affordable housing after convincing a prosecutor to defer prosecution on his felony charge. Though the Advocate secured her client a subsidized apartment, she found out in the height of the pandemic that his landlord was moving to evict him. Her client was unable to see well enough to read and had no idea what the notice on his door said. Returning to homelessness would be lethal for him given that he is over 70 and in fragile health.

But the PFJ Advocate worked with the property manager, gathered advice from local housing lawyers about the client’s rights under HUD and disability law, documented every aspect of her client’s vulnerability, including cardiac and respiratory conditions, and even convinced a local pastor to get on her client’s team and help. Not only did she stop her client from losing his housing, she convinced the property manager to continue keeping the Advocate in the loop on all correspondence about the property, given her client’s near blindness.

Advocate sitting at desk on the phone in black and white

System change

PFJ is performing powerful direct services, but achieving system change. After growing tenfold since 2018, PFJ’s program has begun convincing governments to invest in expanding public defense. Since 2021, PFJ has partnered with defenders to secure $8.6M in government revenue, creating new wraparound service hubs with full governmental buy-in and support.

HOLISTIC SUPPORT

Working with public defenders

Public Defender offices are consistently underfunded and understaffed with a crushing caseload.

In some communities, single public defenders have to handle upward of 19,000 misdemeanor cases annually.

Partners for Justice Advocates support Public Defender clients and community members, making referrals to a network of local community organizations and services, including civil attorneys.

77% of public defenders have had a case dropped, dismissed or resolved without conviction due to Advocate work.

95% of public defenders who work with an Advocate feel better able to assist clients with non-criminal matters.

SYSTEM REFORM

Re-definition of public defense

PFJ is performing powerful direct services, but achieving system change: after growing tenfold since 2018, PFJ’s program has begun convincing governments to invest in expanding public defense. Since just 2021, PFJ has partnered with defenders to secure about $3.7 million in government revenue, creating new wraparound service hubs with full governmental buy-in and support.

This creates a re-definition of public defense, where defenders are seen as more than a legal resource—they become a community service hub, empowered to defend whole people instead of just legal cases.

Empty courtroom in black and white
More information

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get involved?
How can this work impact mass incarceration?
What do we mean by “access to justice”?
Why work with Public Defenders?
How are host offices selected?
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Get in touch

If you would like to host PFJ Advocates in your office, would like to become an Advocate, or would just like to learn more about PFJ, feel free to email us.

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