The Prison Reform 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 lots of ways to get involved.
The Access Project aims to increase access to legal education and careers for those who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system. Our goal is to help open the door to creating positive change in a system that tends to stigmatize and marginalize poor people and people of color. In collaboration with formerly incarcerated people and other stakeholders, we research barriers to law school admission, job-search success, and bar passage, while continuing to advocate for fairer admissions practices at law schools and better bar examination processes.
Prison Teaching 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 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.
St. Francis Partnership Project
This 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. 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.
Advocacy and Events: All NYU Law students and community members are welcome to get involved with PREP's advocacy efforts in New York and beyond. Please contact our leadership for more information (see "Contact Us" page).
PREP Scholarship Fund: In 2018 PREP helped to launch the NYU Law PREP Scholarship Fund, to help support students who have experienced the direct effects of the criminal legal system pursue their legal education at NYU Law. For more information visit: www.law.nyu.edu/NYULawPREPScholarship
*PREP was formerly known as the Prisoners' Rights and Education Project.