Approximately 44% of the people held in LA County jails are pretrial, meaning they are legally innocent and have not been convicted of the purported crime. That amounts to 7,500 people denied the presumption of innocence every day in Los Angeles. La Defensa fights back against pretrial incarceration, defending our constitutional right to freedom in Los Angeles and across California.


of people imprisoned
in Los Angeles jails
are being held pre-trial,
caged while legally innocent.


Life-affirming Alternatives to Incarceration

La Defensa is a femme-led 501(c)(4) advocacy organization dedicated to shifting Los Angeles County’s reliance on criminalization and incarceration towards systems of care that center human dignity. 

We defend the presumption of innocence through policies that challenge pretrial detention, we advocate for local and state budgets that reflect our values and we challenge judicial power by building public resources and electoral power. Our work is informed by the legacy of the communities we belong to: Chicanx, queer, immigrant, undocumented, working class people with incarcerated loved ones.


We believe transformation can be achieved through the following:

Culture & Narrative Shift

We believe change begins with our loved ones and community. We support our communities’ learning by developing public education resources that help inspire them to imagine different approaches to public safety. We invest in cross-movement collaboration and grassroots organizing that empowers impacted community members and builds public support for liberatory policies.

Policy & Budget Advocacy

We advance bold pretrial reform policies that shift power and funding away from law enforcement and private interests and into the hands of our community. We challenge the funding streams that fuel harm by advocating for state and local budgets that align with the values of racial, gender and economic justice.

Power Building

We work to shift power away from the carceral system and into the hands of community by building public accountability platforms, educating and mobilizing under-represented voters, and uplifting electoral candidates that align with our values. 


La Defensa is an abolitionist organization whose breadth of work encompasses policy advocacy and development, on-the-ground organizing and community power building, and projects that support the transformation of our judiciary. 

Click here to get our zine, “Community Power Building: Advocacy In & Out of the Courtroom,” which gives an overview of our judicial work through our Rate My Judge and Court Watch LA projects.


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We are building
a #CareFirst future
for all Angelenos.