LEGAL INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY

AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION FOUNDATION

NATIONAL PRISON PROJECT, DC

The National Prison Project of the ACLU’s National Office has openings for Legal Internships in Washington, D.C. for Fall 2021. The interns will primarily be working closely with a team of NPP staff attorneys, litigation fellows, paralegals, and campaign strategist to create change in prison conditions through class action litigation and strategic legislative and advocacy campaigns.

For 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, advancing racial justice, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With nearly two million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, and record of arrest or conviction. 

OVERVIEW

Founded in 1972 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Prison Project (NPP) seeks to ensure constitutional conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, and immigration detention facilities. The Project seeks to promote prisoners’ rights through class action litigation and public education. Its priorities include reducing prison overcrowding, improving prisoner medical care, eliminating violence and maltreatment, and increasing oversight and accountability in prisons, jails, and other places of detention.

The Project also works to challenge the policies of over-incarceration that have led the United States to imprison more people than any other country in the world. This is an opportune moment to reform those policies. There is a growing consensus among criminal justice experts and policymakers that America’s criminal justice system has relied too heavily on incarceration as the first and often only response for non-violent behavior that could better be addressed through other means. The population in American prisons and jails has tripled in the past 15 years and now approaches two and a half million. Facilities are overcrowded; medical systems are overwhelmed; work, education, and treatment programs are inadequate; and prison violence has increased. This failed experiment does not make us safer, it is not affordable, and it exacerbates the racial disparities that have long plagued the criminal justice system.

The Project, with a staff of six lawyers, has fought and continues to fight unlawful prison conditions and practices through successful litigation on behalf of prisoners in more than 25 states. Since 1991, the Project has represented prisoners in five cases before the United States Supreme Court. The ACLU is the only organization litigating prison conditions of confinement nationwide on behalf of men, women, and children.

INTERNSHIP OVERVIEW

  • Time Commitment: Summer internship requires a full-time commitment of 35 hours per week. A Fall or Winter/Spring internship requires a part-time or full-time commitment 15, 20, or 35 hours per week.
  • Internship Duration: Part-time internships are a 12-week period and full-time internships are a 10-week period.
    • Fall: September – December  
    • Winter/Spring: January – April* 
    • Summer: June – August  

*We take J-term students, quarter students, and semester students during this time-frame. In your cover letter, please specify the term you are applying for, including start and end dates of your school term. If your university requires working through a time-frame outside of these dates, please note that in your cover letter.  

  • Stipend: A stipend is available for those students who do not receive course credit. Students who receive outside funding are eligible for a partial stipend to bring their total summer funding up to the level of ACLU’s stipend amount for that term, if applicable. Arrangements can be made with educational institutions for work/study or course credit.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working alongside the National Prison Project team. The interns will assist staff in criminal justice and prison reform litigation and advocacy work. Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Legal research and writing.
  • Litigation support for class action prisoner right's litigation.
  • Support for integrated advocacy campaigns for criminal justice and corrections reform.
  • Other projects as assigned

EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS

This internship is open to all students who are enrolled into law school before the internship commences. Interns should possess the following:

  • Commitment to prisoner's rights and civil rights work.
  • Strong legal research and writing skills.
  • A commitment to civil liberties, civil rights, and social justice
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU 

 

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Students are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible as decisions are made on a rolling basis.

This posting provides a general but not comprehensive list of the opportunities of the internship. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the posting at any time without advance notice.

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail benefits.hrdept@aclu.org.  If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

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