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Prison Legal Education Project

The goal of the Prison Legal Education Project is to work together with incarcerated people to jointly lead a seminar on legal research and writing skills.

What we do:

The Penn Law Prison Legal Education Project works with people who are currently incarcerated in Pennsylvania state prisons to jointly lead a seminar on legal research and writing, at the prison facility. A goal of our curriculum is to help incarcerated people develop their legal research and writing skills so that they can successfully file pro se documents. The curriculum will develop the fundamental building blocks incarcerated people need to interpret and craft legal arguments.

How we do it:

Volunteers work with incarcerated individuals at the prison facility during each lesson alongside 5-6 other Penn Law students. The class is collaborative and student-directed: volunteers will work together with the student-partners to review key aspects of legal research and writing and discuss relevant legal issues. Volunteers will make a year-long commitment, with 3-4 sessions per semester. Transportation for the one-hour trip is provided. The pandemic continues to affect access into the prison. PLEP leadership is working on developing alternative remote programming in the interim. Interested volunteers should sign up for the PLEP listserv to receive updates on resuming in-person classes.

How and when can I join:

Interested volunteers should email PLEP’s Co-Directors, Cal Barnett-Mayotte (cbarnet@pennlaw.upenn.edu), Lindsay Grier (lgrier@pennlaw.upenn.edu), and Corina Scott (corinas2@pennlaw.upenn.edu), for an application. You can also visit us at the Pro Bono sign up fair!

What skills will I develop:

Working with incarcerated clients, community engagement, criminal justice, legal writing, legal analysis, classroom management, public speaking, presentation skills, education.