NYU Law's EPIC Prison Reform and Education Project
JLI is working in partnership with NYU Law's EPIC's Prison Teaching Project, to strengthen the legal education curriculum offered to people incarcerated in New York state prisons and jails.
EPIC's Prison Teaching project involves teaching people incarcerated in New York state prisons legal research and empowerment skills. The course is taught on site at prison classrooms and libraries. EPIC instruction largely mirrors what students learn in Lawyering, making it the perfect activity for a 1L. It gives students a chance to build human connection and learn from people in New York State prison who are deeply engaged in challenging the criminal legal system. Every member of EPIC is expected to co-teach a weekly lesson at a women's prison in the downstate area, or Rikers Island. EPIC participants teach in pairs, using a Legal Research and Empowerment curriculum developed by the Jailhouse Lawyers Initiative.
EPIC’s Prison Teaching Project’s goal is to redistribute legal knowledge, and bear witness to students’ lived reality of incarceration. The project hopes to teach students in prison the necessary skills to sharpen their self-advocacy in the courtroom and beyond. It also strives to create community, and human connection, in the midst of carceral systems that are designed for isolation.
NYU’s Prison Education Program
JLI is working with the New York University Prison Education Program (NYU PEP) to offer a college course on critical legal studies to students at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in New York.
NYU PEP, founded in 2015, is a college-in-prison program that aims to expand access to higher education within communities impacted by the criminal justice system, to address inequities within our NYU community, and to model how a research university can advance solutions to real world problems. It offers A.A. Degree to people currently incarcerated and supports students’ continued education on campus post-release.
JLI is working with Zealous to co-develop resources and trainings on storytelling and advocacy with formerly and currently incarcerated JLI members. Zealous is a national advocacy and education initiative working to topple the historic imbalance of power over criminal justice media and policy. They do this by supporting and training public defenders, advocates, and people with direct experience to harness the power of media, technology, storytelling and the arts.
National Lawyers Guild
The National Lawyers Guild was the first home of JLI, and continues to be an important partner. Through NLG’s Guild Notes, JLI distributes short toolkits on legal skills to jailhouse lawyers across the country, as well as advertises JLI to NLG’s large membership. NLG is the nation’s oldest and largest progressive bar association and was the first one in the US to be racially integrated. Their mission is to use law for the people, uniting lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people by valuing human rights and the rights of ecosystems over property interests.