In the clinic’s seminar, students study the legal, social, and policy factors that contributed to the exponential rise of America’s prison population and consider alternative approaches to punishment. In the field work, students represent clients in two types of cases: federal sentencing proceedings and Connecticut state parole hearings. Students will learn advocacy strategies aimed at mitigating or ameliorating their clients’ punishment, both prospectively during sentencing and retrospectively during post-conviction proceedings.
Students’ work will include:
- building relationships with clients (some of whom will be incarcerated)
- interviewing witnesses
- investigating case facts; developing case theories
- working on interdisciplinary teams alongside expert witnesses
- using narrative writing techniques to prepare persuasive pleadings
- developing reentry plans for clients leaving prison
Additionally, students will present oral arguments at their clients’ federal hearings and will prepare state-sentenced clients to testify before the parole board.