Defender Association of Philadelphia has reform on its mind - Generocity Philly

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Nov. 2, 2017 10:17 am

Defender Association of Philadelphia has reform on its mind

Curt Watkins of the Adult Social Services unit shares how the organization is working for better outcomes for its clients.

Defender Association's Curt Watkins with Temple social work students.

(Courtesy photo)

Around the Corner” is a PhillyCAM show that offers local social impact leaders the opportunity to share what impact their work is having on the Philadelphia area.


Defender Association of Philadelphia, the local law firm of public defenders, serves some of the most vulnerable people in the city.

The org represents about 70 percent of those arrested — and in America’s poorest big city, that means many of them are also struggling with issues related to housing, substance abuse and more.

Curt Watkins is the chief of Adult Social Services, a unit of social workers who work beside attorneys. According to Watkins (and supported by Defender Association head Keir Bradford-Grey), the organization has reform on its mind, especially relating to reducing the jail population.

“The Defender Association’s at the forefront of that,” he said. “Because when you have team representation, when you engage folks early with social services, the statistics show that folks will come back to court for their court hearing, and engaging in their issues early will preserve what they have that’s positive and lead to better future outcomes.”

Learn more about the association’s work in Watkins’ “Around the Corner” interview below.

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