LAW 701

Prisoners' Rights Clinic

  This one-semester, four-credit clinic will be open to six to eight 2Ls and 3Ls. There are no prerequisities, although preference will be given to students with demonstrated interest—through coursework, jobs or internships, or life experience—in the criminal legal system. It will expose students to a broad toolkit of strategies, both traditional and novel, to undermine the incentives that fuel expansion of carceral control and challenge unconstitutional conditions of confinement.

 The seminar component will include substantial engagement with the particular challenges, both practical and ethical, or representing incarcerated clients, and will consider what movement lawyering and abolitionist lawyering look like in the context of prisoners’ rights advocacy. Students will gain a basic familiarity with the relevant constitutional doctrine and the statutory framework of the Prison Litigation Reform Act and will also be introduced to alternative avenues for advocacy, including through regulatory processes and media exposure. Guests such as a former jailhouse lawyer, a prison medical director, an appellate litigator, and a data scientist or investigative journalist will be invited to the seminar to discuss their work.

 The casework component will include three to four projects, the details of which remain to be determined. Although some will involve collaboration with other organizations and lawyers, Prof. Littman will actively supervise all of them. One will very likely be drafting an amicus brief in a prison conditions case in a federal court of appeals. Another will be a policy advocacy project, likely in support of an organization objecting to jail construction, which would include a combination of public records work and legal and data analysis.

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