Profile: jon.rapping

Jonathan Rapping is the President and Founder of Gideonís Promise, an organization that has partnerships with public defender offices across 16 states in a collective effort to transform public defense in those jurisdictions. In 2014, Gideonís Promise began a partnership with Maryland, where Jon serves as the Director of Strategic Planning and Organizational Development with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. Jon is the Director of the Honors Program in Criminal Justice at Atlantaís John Marshall Law School, where he also teaches criminal law and criminal procedure. He is also a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School where he helps to run its prestigious Trial Advocacy Workshop. He is the former Training Director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), an office nationally known for its training program. Following his tenure at PDS, in 2004 Jon became the first Training Director of Georgiaís new state-wide public defender system. In that capacity he was responsible for designing training programs for both legal and non-legal staff statewide. Jon then became the Director of Training and Recruitment for the Orleans Public Defenders, where he was integral in the efforts to rebuild the public defender system in post-Katrina New Orleans. In recognition of his work in New Orleans, he was a co-recipient of the prestigious Lincoln Leadership Award, given by Kentuckyís Department of Public Advocacy to honor leadership in national efforts to improve indigent defense. Jon has trained public defenders all over the country, and was awarded a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship to develop Gideonís Promise. In 2009, Jon was named a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow by the Harvard Law School Office of Public Interest in recognition of his contribution to the public interest through his work with the Gideonís Promise. In 2013 Jon and Gideonís Promise were awarded the Sentencing Project Award from the National Association of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists and the Gideonís Promise Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights. Also that year he was invited to serve as the Public Interest Scholar in Residence at Touro Law School in recognition of his work with Gideonís Promise. In 2014, Gideonís Promise was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award by Emory University. Jon was named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow for his work with Gideonís Promise.




On March 18, 2017 - the 54th anniversary of the Gideon v. Wainright decision - NAPD published its Foundational Principleswhich are recommended to NAPD members and other persons and organizations interested in advancing the cause of equal justice for accused persons.  


On March 2, 2017, NAPD released its Statement on Reducing Demand For Public Defense: Alternatives to Traditional Prosecution Can Reduce Defender Workload, Save Money, and Reduce RecidivismThere are more than 2 million people in jail and prison in the United States. This is a four-fold increase since 1980. This increase and the racial disproportionality among incarcerated people has led to alliances across the political spectrum to address the impact on people and on budgets.  As the new Coalition for Public Safety has put it, “Our country has an ‘overcriminalization’ problem and an ‘overincarceration’ problem — and it’s getting worse." NAPD authored this statement because there is a great opportunity to make transformative changes that can improve justice and save money.  A variety of organizations representing a wide spectrum of political views have joined together to end the systematic problem of overcriminalization and narrow the net of incarceration by reforming criminal codes.