Philadelphia’s four active participatory defense hubs open their doors to anyone impacted by the criminal justice system at weekly meetings across the city, including the first hub in the nation dedicated to children and families who are navigating the justice system. At hub meetings, community facilitators provide valuable information about the justice process, and how people can best advocate for themselves and their loved ones. Hub facilitators and volunteers explain how cases move through court, remind people about upcoming court dates, and provide referrals to social services that support better case outcomes.
The Pre-Entry Coalition offers individuals job training, treatment for addiction and mental health issues, and other supports that allow them to improve their lives at the front end of the criminal justice process. When community groups intervene immediately following a person’s arrest, they can disrupt what has been characterized as “assembly line justice,” which drives mass incarceration.