Students to Share Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual at FED 4/NYC

Family Empowerment Day Will Take Place at the Law School October 25

Press Contact:
Sonia von Gutfeld, 212-854-1453, [email protected]
Public Affairs Office, 212-854-2650

October 24, 2008 (NEW YORK) – This Saturday, Columbia Law School students will make A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual (JLM) available to families and friends of prisoners at Family Empowerment Day 4 (FED 4/NYC), a series of workshops designed for those with friends and relatives in prison. JLM is a student-written and -edited handbook of legal rights and procedures designed for use by the incarcerated, their families and advocates.

The eighth edition of the JLM, to be published in February 2009, will feature art by prisoners on its front and back covers. On Saturday, students will encourage FED 4/NYC attendees to send flyers about the JLM's cover art contest to family members behind bars.

“Members of A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual are pleased to have the opportunity to join individuals, community groups and activists on Family Empowerment Day,” said JLM editor-in-chief Kate Skolnick ’09. “We hope to increase awareness of our book, whose audiences include prisoners, their families and other advocates. More importantly, we aim to provide a way for prisoners themselves to become involved in the publication process by seeking submissions for our cover art contest.”

WHAT: Family Empowerment Day 4/NYC

WHERE: Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall

WHEN: Saturday, October 25, 2008, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The JLM has helped prisoners, their families and advocates navigate the United States legal system since its first publication in 1978. The JLM and its Immigration and Consular Access supplement (also published in Spanish) contain almost forty chapters explaining legal rights and procedures relevant to prisoners. These include "Federal Habeas Corpus," "Religious Freedom in Prison," "Using DNA Evidence to Attack Your Conviction or Sentence" and "Special Information for LGBT Prisoners."

The fourth annual Family Empowerment Day in New York City will feature a keynote speech by New York State Board of Parole Chairman George Alexander on the state of parole today, networking opportunities, action tables with information and petitions, and a screening and discussion of “The Visitors,” a documentary about families making the bus trip to upstate prisons. Panelists include advocates, lawyers, policy experts and pastors. The event is presented by the Family Empowerment Project of the Prison Action Network with support from additional sponsors.
Prison Action Network, based in Albany with a very large constituency in New York City, works to connect the people who are most directly affected by New York State's incarceration policies. Prison Action Network publishes Building Bridges, a monthly newsletter which covers news and reports from people on both sides of the prison walls who are at the forefront of changing the climate of the criminal justice and prison systems.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law.