Participatory Defense Hubs Are Shifting the Power Dynamics in the Criminal Justice System

By Cinnamon Janzer, Next City | February 23, 2024

Former Stoneleigh Fellow Raj Jayadev spoke to Next City about developing the participatory defense hub model and how it has evolved over time.

When Monica Allison’s son was facing charges and awaiting trial incarcerated on Philadelphia’s State Road, she had no idea what to do. She didn’t know what to expect from the legal process — what the steps were and in what order or what she could expect from her son’s defense attorney, to name a few questions.

“Being new to the system and trying to navigate it on your own — that’s the reason for the hub,” Allison says. She’s referring to Philly’s Haddington Participatory Defense Hub, one of over 40 hubs across the country that work with folks facing charges and incarceration, as well as their families. Their aim is to reduce the inequitable harms of the criminal justice system and, as they say, turn time served into time saved.

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