Mass Incarceration Clinic

Course Information

Course Number
L9256
Curriculum Level
Upperclass
Areas of Study
Clinics, Externships, and Experiential Learning, Criminal Law and Procedure, Racial, Economic, and Social Justice
Type
Clinic
Additional Attributes
Experiential Credit

Section 001 Information

Instructors

Brett Dignam Brett Dignam Vice Dean for Experiential Education and Clinical Professor of Law

Section Description

Challenging the Consequences of Mass Incarceration is a clinic that will focus on litigation in federal and state court primarily related to prisoners' conditions of confinement. Students will visit clients in state and federal prisons where they will interview, counsel and develop strategies. Subject to the law student intern rules, clinic students will litigate issues identified by the clients. Students will work with clients to develop legal strategies to resolve their problems. Although the identification of cases will be done collaboratively with the clients, projects may include civil rights actions in EDNY and SDNY and state court litigation of adverse parole decisions. It is anticipated that claims related to medical care, mental health and excessive force may also become part of the clinic's docket. To prepare for this work, students will read and discuss writings about punishment theory, the history of American prisons and the substantive law governing prisoners' rights. To develop the skills they will need to work with clients, students will participate in intensive simulated interview exercises. Other legal skills, including counseling, negotiation, oral argument, preparation of pleadings, briefs and other litigation related writing will be taught and acquired in the context of client representation. Students will be encouraged to raise, reflect on and discuss relevant issues of professional responsibility that arise in work with confined, indigent clients.

School Year & Semester
Spring 2019
Location
WJWH 101
Schedule
Class meets on
  • Tuesday
  • Thursday
1:20 - 4:10 pm
Points
3
J.D Writing Credit?
Minor (upon consultation)
Major (only upon consultation)
LLM Writing Project
(only upon consultation)

Learning Outcomes

Primary
  • Students will read and discuss the demographics of incarceration in the United States. They will learn about the impact of criminal justice policy on communities with particular attention to the disparate impact in racial and socio-economic terms.
  • Students will learn about the consequences of these policies and the conditions of incarceration through direct representation of prisoners housed in state and federal prisons in New York and Connecticut.
  • Students will learn the basic tools of litigation challenging conditions of confinement through seminar readings and discussion and through research targeted at achieving the goals of their individual clients.
Secondary
  • tudents will develop their interview and oral presentation skills both through class discussion and during interactions (client interviews, negotiation with opposing parties, etc.) necessary to advance their clients' goals.
  • Strengthen legal research and writing skills. This will occur through a combination of investigation of potential legal tools, by writing legal and factual memoranda and by writing both advice and legal demand letters in connection with client work.
  • Students will learn the basics of factual investigation, including document review and analysis.

Course Limitations

Instructor Pre-requisites
None
Instructor Co-Requisites
None
Recommended Courses
None
Other Limitations
None

Other Sections of Mass Incarceration Clinic

Section 001

School Year & Semester

Fall 2018

Instructors

Brett Dignam

Brett Dignam

Vice Dean for Experiential Education and Clinical Professor of Law

Location

JGH 546

Schedule

Class meets on
  • Tuesday
  • Thursday

Points

3

Section 002

School Year & Semester

Fall 2018

Instructors

Brett Dignam

Brett Dignam

Vice Dean for Experiential Education and Clinical Professor of Law

Points

4

Section 002

School Year & Semester

Spring 2019

Instructors

Brett Dignam

Brett Dignam

Vice Dean for Experiential Education and Clinical Professor of Law

Points

4
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