What We Do

We use a nationwide community organizing model called Participatory Defense which has been shown to reduce conviction rates, length of sentences, and isolation for individuals and families going through court proceedings. We are not attorneys, a legal clinic, or a service agency, but we work with individuals and families through a peer support model to understand the proceedings and become strong advocates, together with defense attorneys, to dig into and understand the evidence against individuals in order to strengthen their defense strategies.

We work throughout the week on individual and family cases, and we conduct weekly support meetings. We attend court with individuals and families and compile “social biographies” that comprehensively show the character, environment, and social support of the person facing charges, in order to positively impact the outcome of the case.

What is Participatory Defense?

Participatory Defense is an organizing model developed by Silicon Valley De-Bug’s Albert Cobarrubias Justice project. This organizing model was created for individuals who are faced with charges, as well as their loved ones and communities, to impact the outcome of cases and to transform the landscape of power with the court systems.

We Resolve formed the first Participatory Defense hub in the Midwest in September of 2020.

Social Biographies

We help families create “social biographies” that comprehensively show the character of and support for a person facing charges in order to positively impact the outcome of the case.

This approach is rooted in telling a loved one’s story and recognizing that we are all part of a larger community and social system. Social bios are centered on the agency of the family and can be used in all parts of the court process.

Weekly Meetings

The purpose of weekly meetings is to eliminate isolation for those facing charges and for their families by building a collective support system. Our goal is to foster an organizing model that focuses on the collective rather than the individual.

These meetings are at the center of what we do at We Resolve. We use them to foster community and guide our work for the rest of the week.


We Resolve advocates for changes in law, policy, and procedures within the criminal punishment system in an effort to make the system better. At local policy tables, We Resolve advocates for issues that significantly impact the community, such as eliminating cash bail and youth to adult certification that enables juveniles to be tried as adults.

Along with Participatory Defense, We Resolve is currently working to develop additional core programs within their organization that will further aid the community.