Post-Conviction Advocacy Project

The purpose of the Post-Conviction Advocacy Project (P-CAP) is to train Berkeley Law students to assist incarcerated people in California with the parole process. Our group’s mission is to attain justice for the thousands of men and women who may spend the rest of their lives in prison, even if they pose no current threat to society. Indigent prisoners regularly receive inadequate representation from board-appointed attorneys, and students’ support can help ensure that prisoners are well-prepared and have a fair chance at their hearings.

In a typical year, P-CAP pairs law students with individuals serving life sentences to aid them in preparing for their parole hearing and to represent them at that hearing under attorney supervision. In the past, preparation has primarily been done through in-person prison visits. For the fall, this work will start remotely with teams reviewing a client’s documents or having phone calls. We hope to transition teams to meeting their clients in person in the spring or following year. Our group will be adapting to the changing circumstances of COVID-19 to find the best ways to continue supporting our clients if visits continue to be restricted.

Supervision: P-CAP students are supervised by attorneys at UnCommon Law. 

Time Commitment: Joining P-CAP is a substantial time commitment because you and your partner(s) will be directly representing an incarcerated client as they prepare for their parole hearing.  

A 14-24 month commitment is necessary to ensure proper preparation and zealous representation at your client’s hearing. Students who join P-CAP in Fall 2020 can expect to have a hearing between October 2021 – May 2022. The time commitment per semester is about 45-50 hours with significant variation depending on client needs. This year, the time commitment will also depend on whether in-person visits are permitted, or if our work is primarily done through phone calls and letter correspondence. 

Other requirements include: (1) obtaining gate clearance to enter prison for monthly client visits; (2) the ability to work with one or more partners; (3) the ability to work empathetically and professionally with incarcerated individuals serving life sentences; (4) attending trainings, part of which includes observing a parole hearing; and (5) possibly missing class to visit your client once a month. 

For more information, please contact the student leaders at p-cap@berkeley.edu.


 

Student Testimonials:

  • Asher Waite-Jones '16

    "Being part of the Post-Conviction Advocacy Project reminded me of why I went to law school in the first place, which was to free all marginalized people from all literal and metaphorical cages. I co-represented a lifer at San Quentin Prison. He was sentenced to life when he was just 15. Several years later I ran into him in San Francisco. He was free from prison, he was wearing his own clothes, and talking on his non-contraband cell phone. I will never forget how good it felt to see the sun on his skin and hear him laugh among the busy sounds of Downtown SF."


We are grateful to our supporters:

Julie Hess
Loren S. Lewallen
David B. Oppenheimer
Select Equity Group, Inc.


 

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