Officially launched in November 2015, the Prisoner Advocacy Network (PAN) is a network of attorneys, law students, legal workers, formerly incarcerated people, family members of incarcerated people, and other volunteers working to support prisoners incarcerated throughout California state prisons. PAN’s efforts are focused on supporting people in prison with 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 issues, and rights violations. PAN is especially interested in working with activists and jailhouse lawyers who are advocating for their rights from the inside.
After being trained to work as an advocate, students will be assigned an incarcerated correspondent for whom they will, under the supervision of an attorney mentor, provide non-litigation advocacy assistance on an issue identified by the correspondent. Tasks will vary according to the needs of each advocate’s correspondent, but may include: phone calls and letters to prison and health care officials, assisting prisoners with filing administrative appeals, filing complaints, providing resources from the web or other sources, and public records requests.
Time Commitment: Students will be expected to attend group meetings at least once monthly for approximately two hours. These meetings are designed to assist students in working with their correspondents. The initial training will be approximately four hours, with the opportunity to attend additional trainings throughout the year.
Students will also be expected to perform at least one task weekly for their correspondent (writing a letter to their correspondent, making a phone call to a prison official on behalf of their correspondent, requesting or reviewing medical records, etc.) throughout the school year or until the issue identified by their correspondent is resolved. The expectation is that a student will research and issue and write a substantive letter to their correspondent at least once per month.
While time commitments can vary widely, we estimate that each student will spend approximately twenty hours per semester working with PAN, in addition to the initial training. Volunteers are asked to commit to their correspondents for at least 12 months or until their correspondent’s issue is resolved.
Additionally, students will be given the opportunity to visit their correspondents or a fellow PAN advocate’s correspondent. This will vary depending on the location of the prison, as PAN correspondents are incarcerated all over the state.
Supervision: Students will receiving training from and be supervised by attorney members of the National Lawyers’ Guild of San Francisco.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at berkeleylawPAN@gmail.com.
We are grateful to our supporters:
Loren S. Lewallen
David B. Oppenheimer
Select Equity Group, Inc.