Northeastern Law’s Center for Law, Equity and Race (CLEAR) and Criminal Justice Task Force Announce Victories in the Fight for Justice
09.01.22 — Northeastern Law’s Center for Law, Equity and Race and Criminal Justice Task Force are pleased to announce three major victories in their fight for systemic changes to make our criminal and civil justice systems fairer and more just.
First, the Ralph Gants Reentry Services Program will provide $2 million to the Massachusetts Community Justice Support Centers (CCJS) to provide every person coming out of prison or jail with reentry services at one of the 19 CCJS centers. Massachusetts is the only state with state-funded, state-wide reentry services centers focused on providing reentry services to individuals after they have left prison or jail. Almost two-thirds of those who leave prison or jail in the commonwealth return within three years. With this additional funding, the state-wide reentry services program will be able to more effectively help those coming out of prison or jail navigate the path to a productive life. Reentry coordinators will be able to provide returning individuals with information about jobs, job training, housing, substance use disorder treatment, educational opportunities, medical insurance, cell phone assistance, mental health treatment centers and identification cards. This funding is the result of advocacy by the Criminal Justice Task Force’s Subcommittee on Reentry, headed by Massachusetts Appellate Court Justice Sydney Hanlon (ret.) and Superior Court Judge Rosalind Miller (ret.), who worked on this initiative with State Senator Will Brownsberger.
Second, under the leadership of Professor Deborah Ramirez, founder of the Criminal Justice Task Force, diverse students across the commonwealth will now have access to stipends for co-ops or internships with state judges. Working closely inside a judge’s chambers allows law students to hone their research and writing skills, enrich their insights about the development of jurisprudence and develop a close relationship with a judge who can be a mentor and advisor. Currently, all state co-ops and internships are unpaid. The Gants Memorial Scholarship fund will provide $150,000 to law students across the commonwealth who cannot afford to take an unpaid internship or co-op. It is hoped that this initiative will help diversify the pipeline for post-law school judicial law clerkships and for judgeships.
Third, the Center for Law, Equity and Race’s (CLEAR) Chief Justice Access to Justice Fund will engage and educate the judicial community about how restorative justice practices can be used to advance equity efforts within the trial courts administration. This program is headed by Professor Susan Maze-Rothstein of the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University.
“We have made tremendous progress this year, but there is so much more to be done. As we move ahead, we will be asking lawyers and law firms to join us and to join our Criminal Justice Task Force advisory board so that we can continue to make structural changes to improve the lives of those seeking assistance from the courts,” said Professor Deborah Ramirez, head of the Criminal Justice Task Force and faculty co-director of CLEAR.
To participate in the Criminal Justice Task Force or CLEAR, please contact Professor Deborah Ramirez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Northeastern University School of Law
The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country. Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences through its signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. More than 1,000 employers worldwide in a wide range of legal, government, nonprofit and business organizations participate in the program. With a focus on social justice and innovation, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experiences to successfully practice law.
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