Title: Sending Students to Jail: Challenges and Best Practices for University Legal Clinics working in Detention Centers

Lead Presenter: J. Anna Cabot


  1. Cecilia Blengino
  2. Silvia Mondino
  3. Victor Chimbwanda

Session Abstract: This workshop will focus on sharing experiences, challenges and good practices for law clinics that assist persons who are detained or incarcerated. As a rule, people in detention are vastly under-represented and, because of lack of knowledge, resources or assistance, struggle to represent themselves adequately. Unfortunately, university legal clinics face numerous challenges to meet their need, including lack of access to facilities and detainees, inadequate funding, timing of events which does not fit the school calendar, reduction of prisoners’ rights and remedies, and hostility on the part of the “gate-keepers”, the people who control the facilities. In our opinions, however, working with detained people can be a critical part of a student’s social justice education. This session will include brief descriptions of existing clinics which work in these situations, but will focus more on answering over-arching questions about this sort of work: Why is it important for students to work with detained people? What are our shared obstacles and how have you navigated them? What are the biggest challenges and benefits in terms of pedagogy? How do we incorporate legal assistance and legal reform work in this situation? Are we able to provide adequate legal assistance in our programs?

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