Learn more - Poverty Studies

January 7, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Law, Criminal Justice
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Shepherd Internship Erin Walters

The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) • Mission: The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) provides and promotes quality legal representation to indigent adults and children facing a loss of liberty in the District of Columbia and thereby protects society's interest in the fair administration of justice. • Community Defender Division (CDD): •

Juvenile Services Program (JSP)

Community Reentry Program (CRP)

• Institutional Services Program (ISP)

Accomplishments of PDS • Regarded as one of the best public defender offices in the country • Represents up to 60 percent of individuals determined to be unable to obtain adequate legal representation in DC •

Other 40 percent are represented by private attorneys pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA)

• Consists of seven (7) legal services divisions to represent clients in as complete a way as possible • • • • • • •

Trial Appeals Mental Health Special Litigation Parole Community Defender Civil Legal Services

Institutional Services Program (ISP) • Serves as the PDS liaison to individuals convicted of DC Code offenses and held in Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities • Provides information to assist these individuals and monitor their conditions of incarceration • Consists of two attorneys, Keisha Robinson and Almo Carter, and shares one investigator—Eddy McDermott—with the rest of CDD

Responsibilities/My Accomplishments  Worked primarily under both attorneys in ISP, and with the ISP law clerk  Answered letters from currently and formerly incarcerated individuals regarding any issues or questions they had about incarceration  Interviewed clients in the Central Detention Facility (DC Jail) in preparation for Disciplinary Hearings within the facility  Interviewed currently and formerly incarcerated men in regard to conditions of confinement     

Recreation Medical Services Food Services Physical Abuse Etc…

 Drafted a Report outlining findings re conditions of confinement  When finished, it will be presented to the Warden

A Typical Day in ISP • 9:30 am Arrive at the office and • 2:00-3:00 pm Watch Jail Calls discuss work to be done for the day

for a case represented by a lawyer at the main office

• 10:00 am-1:00 pm Interview • 3:00-4:30 pm Write memos for individuals at the Jail

• 1:00-2:00 pm Answer letters

from clients and organize box of letters to be opened

the clients spoken to that day

• 4:30 pm Send daily report to all in the office and go home  When free, we court watched

Challenges  Bureaucracy  Getting information for cases was often difficult  PDS and the “government” (police officers, the DC Jail, and prosecution) have an adversarial relationship  Tense relationship between the DC Jail and my partner and I as a result of our investigation

 Progress was slow  Records can take weeks to obtain  Most cases (with the exception of juvenile cases) take months from start to finish

 Thrown into the mix feet first  The Criminal Law Internship Program (CLIP) training the other three (3 Shepherd Interns and I completed proved to be largely irrelevant to our work in CDD; the training was specific to the Trial Division  My partner and I were given a lot of freedom and little direction throughout our internship

My SSLP, Summer 2013 The Share Foundation for the Handicapped (Sharing Meadows) • Rolling Prairie, IN • Summer Camp for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities/full-time residency for other-abled “villagers” who live in community with “stewards”

SSLP vs. Shepherd Internship Sharing Meadows


 Lived in the camp dorms with my fellow counselors along with the campers during the week

 Lived on Catholic University of America campus with the other 13 Shepherd interns in DC

 Completed weekly readings and journals, and wrote a paper at the end of the experience

 Lived under a $14 a day budget, which covered food and transportation

 Worked with adults with disabilities (ages 18-78)

 Worked with incarcerated individuals (ages 19-60)

 Rural setting (Rolling Prairie, IN)

 Urban setting (Washington, DC)

Understanding Poverty • Sharing Meadows •

Different from most SSLPs, as this was a disability SSLP

Campers and villagers were not necessarily financially poor

I learned a lot about love during my time at Share, so it was fruitful despite not placing an emphasis on economic poverty

• PDS •

All clients of PDS are indigent; however, I spoke with many nonPDS clients at the DC Jail who may not have been poor

Still, 80-90 percent of those at DC Jail are indigent

Overall, the experience illuminated the connection between crime and poverty, and the related connection between race and poverty

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