Professors Doug Colbert, director of the Access to Justice Clinic, and Rebecca Bowman-Rivas, manager of Law & Social Work Service Program, continued the University of Maryland’s ongoing collaboration with the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College of Law this summer. The professors and four law and social work students spent three weeks in Zomba, Malawi working on the grant-funded Access to Justice and Prisoner Health in Malawi project.
The Maryland group worked closely with Chancellor Law School’s faculty and Bail Clinic students as they interviewed detainees. Many of the detainees the group spoke with had been awaiting trial for many years on homicide and lesser charges.
The group toured several locations including the Malawian pretrial detention prisons and the country’s main psychiatric hospital where forensic patients are held. It also visited with judges and magistrates of the High Court and lower courts, legal aid attorneys, police, and staffers at several non-governmental organizations currently working with prisoners, the criminal justice system, and juvenile offenders.
In addition to meeting with faculty and students at Chancellor College, the faculty invited Professor Colbert to share ideas for curricular reform in the law school’s clinical and experiential program. Professors Bowman-Rivas and Colbert, and their students, also gave three presentations that focused on clinical teaching methods, interdisciplinary work, and specific projects of the Bail/Access to Justice Clinic and the Law and Social Work Services Program.