The Prisoners' Rights and Education Project (PREP) is a student organization devoted to issues involving incarcerated people. PREP has a number of different projects (see below), so there are multiple opportunities to get involved. This year we are expanding our offerings to include a new Partnership Program and plan to host a number of on-campus events as well.
Legal Research Education Project
This project involves teaching people incarcerated in New York state prisons legal research skills. Each semester we conduct a seven week course on site at prison classrooms and libraries.
PREP instruction largely mirrors what students learn in Lawyering, making it the perfect activity for a 1L. It gives students a chance to get involved in something very important without overloading an already busy schedule. Every member of PREP is expected to co-teach a lesson at a women's prison in the downstate area. PREP participants teach in pairs: for one facility they will travel to the prison in the morning via commuter rail and return by late afternoon; the other is just a short subway trip away. Past teachers can attest to the fact that the experience is challenging, interesting, and rewarding.
At a minimum, incarcerated people deserve the right to understand the system under which they are incarcerated. Take the opportunity to share your knowledge.
Solitary Confinement Project
Students interview men and women incarcerated in New York City Jails (mostly at Rikers Island), who are serving time in solitary confinement. The information gleaned from these interviews is used by the Jails Action Coalition in their campaign to reform solitary confinement in New York. This is an excellent project for students who care deeply about criminal justice reform, mental health advocacy, and basic human rights. It is an especially valuable experience for aspiring public defenders, but no prior criminal law experience is required.
Post-Prison College Partnership Program
This new reentry program partners NYU Law students with an amazing group of formerly-incarcerated college students who have scholarships through the Post-Prison College Opportunity Program at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. Currently in its pilot phase, the Post-Prison College Opportunity Program at St. Francis College helps formerly-incarcerated students earn a degree through intensive student monitoring, ongoing assessment, and integrated social service supports within a rigorous college program. NYU Law students meet with St. Francis College students individually and participate in group meetings and events to provide students with support in fulfilling their personal goals, engaging with reentry allied communities and overcoming unique barriers they may encounter as a result of prior involvement with the criminal or juvenile justice systems.
Current Board Members:
(Co-Chair) Prison Liaison: Erica Cooper
(Co-Chair) Program Coordinator: Stephanie Damon-Moore
(Co-Chair) Program Developer: Zawadi Baharanyi
Treasurer: Lucy Nicholas
Outreach & Activism Directors: Ariel Spierer & Morgan Taggart-Hampton
Mentor Program Director: Elaine Saly
Solitary Project Director: Adam Murphy
Teacher Training Director: Mike Sapiro
Feel free to get in touch with any board member for more information.