Decarceration and Community Reentry Clinic (YR)

Information Introduction

Section 1, Fall 24

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 12/12
Credits: 4
Days Time Room Start Date End Date


1130-1330 SL284

Course Description

Over 13 million people cycle through jails and prisons every year in the United States. Upon release, there are over 45,000 laws regulating where people with arrest records and criminal convictions can live, where they can work, how they can engage in the financial sector, how they can associate with their friends and family, and what resources they can access. More than two-thirds will be reincarcerated within five years — meaning there are more people incarcerated for a second or subsequent term than for the first time. The purpose of this year-long clinic is for students to explore how mass incarceration was created and how it is maintained; to investigate structural racism and classism in the criminal legal system; to interrogate how and why the attendant consequences of contact with the criminal justice system often lead to unemployment/underemployment, housing instability/homelessness, financial insecurity and re-incarceration; and to develop legal skills to support formerly incarcerated people and their families with resolving the collateral consequences of incarceration, while empowering their clients and the communities to which they return to create and implement sustainable decarceration strategies, and drive community economic development. The clinic combines seminar-style discussion with field work and service-based learning. Assigned readings and class discussion will give students the opportunity to explore the history and evolution of incarceration in the United States. Students will critically examine criminal justice reform efforts, and critically engage the concept of “reform” and “progress” in the context of mass incarceration. Students will also explore the role of the private sector in criminal justice administration, incarceration and reentry. Students will work directly with formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs, activists and organizers to support their efforts to build community-based services. Students will have the opportunity to work on teams with community partners to identify a problem or gap that is impeding their organization's and their clients’ success, and will develop a project that offers legal strategies, among other social, practical and policy interventions to address that problem. Toward that end, students will have the opportunity to explore social entrepreneurship, policy, movement building and community organizing while also applying and strengthening their legal research, writing and oral communication skills. Students will also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with clients who are nearing release or recently released to provide direct legal services through a community drop-in legal clinic conducted in partnership with local reentry organizations.

Course Requirements

Exam Information

Final Type (if any): None

Description: None

Written Work Product

Written work product will vary based on the specific projects to which students are assigned. The clinic offers the opportunity to prepare petitions and responses to be filed in criminal and civil court, research memorandums, persuasive memorandums, and self-help guides.

Other Course Details

Prerequisites: Because the credits in this course count toward the JD Program Professional Skills requirement, JD candidates will be given enrollment priority for this class. Concurrencies: None

Exclusive With: Decarceration and Community Reentry Clinic (1-term) (8657)

Laptops Allowed: Yes

First Day Attendance Required: No

Course Resources: To be announced via Canvas.

Course Notes: NOTE REGARDING ENROLLMENT: the enrollment process is described at If seats are available in this clinic after the application/lottery process, students must seek special permission from the instructors for a seat. If a student seeking a seat in this class is enrolled in another clinic, enrollment authorization from the instructors from both clinics must be provided to the Student Records Office via email ([email protected]).

Graduation Requirements

Satisfies Understanding Bias/Racism/Cross-Cultural Competency requirement: Yes

Satisfies Writing Requirement: No

Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes

Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

Additional Course Information

Schedule No.: 124820474

Modified Type: Clinical

Cross Listed: No

Waitlist Count: 0

Concentrations: Criminal Justice , Litigation and Dispute Resolution , Public Service and Leadership

Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Friday, November 22, 12:01 AM

Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 06, 11:59 PM

Information reflected on this page was last refreshed at: Friday, July 19, 2024 - 7:02 AM *

*During open enrollment periods, live enrollment data may be found in SIS.