The Prisoner Advocacy Network (PAN) works to support prisoners incarcerated in California State Prisons. PAN at Berkeley Law focuses on supporting people in prison who have severe unmet needs, including people in solitary confinement, security housing units, administrative segregation, and gender-based segregation. PAN provides non-litigation advocacy for incarcerated people experiencing discrimination, retaliation, medical needs, and civil rights violations. PAN is especially interested in working with activists and jailhouse lawyers who are advocating for their rights from the inside.
PAN at Berkeley Law is a SLP for law students who want to learn first-hand about the challenges faced by people incarcerated in California State Prisons.
After undergoing training, Berkeley Law students will be partnered with an experienced advocate to work with an incarcerated correspondent. Under the supervision of an attorney mentor, the advocates will provide non-litigation advocacy assistance on an issue or issues identified by the correspondent. Tasks will vary according to the needs of each advocate’s correspondent, but at minimum involve writing to the correspondent, researching prison rules and regulations, and executing an advocacy plan which may involve demand letters to prison officials. The advocate may travel to the prison to meet their correspondent and better understand the correspondent’s needs.
Additionally, over the course of the 18 months, Berkeley Law students will receive training on specific issues which target a significant number of California prisoners, such as failures to receive needed medical care and conditions of confinement which put prisoners at risk of violence. Berkeley students will work with PAN to host trainings and drop-in clinics to support and advise family members and loved ones of prisoners in understanding what rights prisoners are entitled to and how to support incarcerated people in advocating for changes in conditions.
Supervision: Students will receiving training from and be supervised by attorney members of the National Lawyers’ Guild of San Francisco.
Time Commitment: Participation in PAN requires at least an 18-month commitment in order to ensure sufficient time to learn about the prison system and gain expertise in order to advise your incarcerated correspondent and family members who attend the drop in clinics. Probable time commitment is:
|Fall Semester total estimate:||Spring Semester total estimate:|
|4-6 hours of training||10+ hours for a prison visit (optional)|
|8 hours for group workdays||8 hours for group workdays|
|4 hours of weekend time – drop in clinics||16 hours of weekend time – drop in clinics|
|20-30 hours of correspondence & research||20-30 hours of correspondence & research|
The time commitment varies depending on how needy your correspondent is. PAN will attempt to spread the work evenly and flexibly so that correspondents with greater needs have more than one advocate.
This SLP requires committed, self-motivated students who are looking for more than their 25 pro bono hours for the year. The work is extremely rewarding and eye-opening for individuals interested in learning first-hand about the California criminal punishment system.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at PrisonerAdvocacy@berkeley.edu.
We are grateful to our supporters:
Loren S. Lewallen
David B. Oppenheimer
Select Equity Group, Inc.