Prisoners Are Not Erased: Trauma-Informed Lawyering to Empower Incarcerated People
Peter Borenstein, Restorative Justice Fund
This forum will be live streamed on the ICUJP Facebook page. Please visit https://facebook.com/ICUJP starting around 7:30 am.
Many people who are or have been in prison face huge injustices and challenges in navigating life on the outside. Peter Borenstein, a 2014 Loyola Law School graduate, started the Restorative Justice Fund (RJFund) to advocate for, design, and deploy innovative interventions on behalf of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people at every level of the criminal justice system. He will discuss the many and complex issues they face, and RJFund's work to support them.
Following graduation, Peter consulted with the Los Angeles City Attorney to develop the Neighborhood Justice Program, a pre-charge diversion program for first-time, low-level, adult offenders, This work led to his founding of RJFund in 2015. After passing the bar, Peter began hosting a free legal clinic for newly released lifers at a transitional housing facility. The first three men he met reported a strikingly similar issue: During their incarceration, they had all been stolen from by people on the outside, mostly siblings, spouses, and former business partners. This fateful meeting led to RJFund's flagship program: The Lifer Legal Clinic provides legal representation to recover property (houses and cash) stolen from clients while they were in prison. To date, the clinic has recovered more than a million dollars worth of real property and liquid assets on behalf of clients.
RJFund's newest initiative supports clients who, while incarcerated, have learned to successfully litigate cases through decades of study in prison law libraries. Nevertheless, they're unable to leverage this expertise into good jobs due to bias and lack of finances. RJFund is partnering with Goodwill Industries to subsidize paralegal certification for these skilled jailhouse lawyers and help them gain work that utilizes their unique skills.
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3300 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
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