PHOTO RECAP: Participatory Defense Launches in Nashville!

It was tremendous honor that some of us participatory defense organizers from California were invited to build with community leaders and the public defender’s office of Nashville, as they launched the first participatory defense hub in Tennessee! We met an incredible and resilient community who is deeply invested in advocating for justice and fairness in the courts and the neighborhoods. We started by doing doing a participatory defense training with public defenders and community advocates who were a diverse network of re-entry service providers, church leaders, community organizers and more. We went over how community and defender partnerships can tangibly change the outcome of cases, how the collaboration can lead to systemic changes in the criminal justice system, as well as how to get started. Some friends of JustCity (a non-profit organization in Memphis), the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office, and the Knoxville Public Defender’s Office attended as well! The following day we went to court with the community advocates, being guided by the defender’s office, so the community could get a clearer understanding of the mechanics of the court, and where their voice and partnership could have impact. After that we did a session on how to make social biography videos, and then that evening held the first ever participatory defense meeting in Nashville at a church hosted by the Family Reconciliation Center. That same day, we co-authored an op-ed in the Tennessean on the launch of participatory defense in Nashville. You can check that out by clicking, “Public defenders, community work to reduce incarceration.” Special salute to Gideon’s Promise and the National Association for Public Defense, who fostered the space and belief to build this incredible bridge, and to Dawn, Sara, Malinda and all our partner’s in Nashville — we are so humbled by your spirit, leadership, and value driven fight for justice!

Check out the photos below to meet some of the amazing people we got introduced to, and see the exciting work going on in Nashville!

andrewtrainingAt the introduction to participatory defense training at the Nashville Public Defender’s Office, Andrew goes through various principles that has helped guide communities have lasting and sustainable impact in their communities.
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Montgomery County Participatory Defense Hub Saves Member 57 Years from Incarceration

From the first participatory defense meeting in Montgomery, PA at at CADCOM.

From the first participatory defense meeting in Montgomery, PA at at CADCOM.

Congratulations to our friends at the (Community Action Development Commission) CADCOM in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania who started a Participatory Defense Hub! The organization does community work and re-entry services for their county, and added participatory defense as a method for their community to stay whole and to prevent incarceration. Below, they share with us their first Time Saved story of 2016 — saving a community member of theirs 57 years from incarceration!  (Post submission by Montgomery County participatory defense facilitator Heather Lewis)

On June 15, 2015 CADCOM held its first Participatory Defense Hub meeting.  We had three guests that night; two participants and one volunteer.  One participant named Ted was there on behalf of his son Chris who was being charged with three counts of bank robbery.  Ted was very proactive in his son’s case which made our maiden voyage into participatory defense relatively easy.  Essentially, the participatory defense hub was able to offer support, suggestions and encouragement when Ted grew weary and frustrated; however, he made the phone calls, went to court and followed up with his son’s public defender.  Continue reading