This clinic is a 7 credit course with a weekly seminar component. It offers an ambitious and exciting opportunity for students to engage in a critical examination of important and complex criminal justice issues. Approximately 650,000 ex-offenders are returning each year to communities throughout the country from state and federal penal systems. Moreover, approximately 12,000 ex-offenders will be released from Maryland prisons this year, about two-thirds of whom will return to Baltimore City neighborhoods. The nationwide number of returning individuals is expected to increase to 1.2 million in 2010. Many of these persons were imprisoned as a result of mandatory and other strict sentencing rules for drug offenders that were promulgated in the 1980s and 1990s. Ex-offenders face enormous obstacles to becoming fully involved and productive members of the community. Their struggles, in turn, affect the communities to which they will return. For example, ex-offenders are ineligible to live in public housing for certain periods of time. They also face significant barriers to employment, both because they are ineligible for many licenses related to trades and because employers are reluctant to hire this segment of the potential work force. For those who cannot find legitimate employment, the options are few. Some ex-offenders face state laws that bar them from voting as a result of their felony conviction. Marylandís ex-felon disenfranchisement law has been the subject of intense legislative debate, and has recently been amended. Other ex-offenders, many of them women, will face challenges to obtaining custody of their children, as parental rights are often terminated due to imprisonment. Clinic work will include visits to community organizations providing assistance to ex-offenders, interviews with ex-offenders, attendance at court and hearings where possible, attendance at legislative and other hearings, meetings with corrections and law enforcement officials, meetings with members of the defense bar, judges and community leaders, as well as meetings with several individuals and organizations working on behalf of, and with, ex-offenders. Clinic work will also include individual representation on issues related to the expungement of criminal records, partnering with the social work clinic to assist individuals on the verge of release from correctional facilities, policy-related projects and community education/presentations. Other clinic work may arise in response to community needs. This clinic satisfies the Cardin Requirement.
Students who enroll in this course are required to attend a full, one-day Law Practice Orientation Program.
Current & Previous Instructors:
|This course is not currently scheduled.|
Last offered Spring 2008.