The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation – National Prison Project seeks legal interns for the Spring of 2012

September 28, 2011

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. It 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 coordinates a nationwide network of litigators, conducts training and public education conferences, and provides expert advice and technical assistance to local community groups and lawyers throughout the country.

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 such 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 seven 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. It is the only organization litigating prison conditions of confinement nationwide on behalf of men, women, and juveniles. Currently, the Project represents over 50,000 prisoners housed in prisons and jails in 12 states, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Spring 2012 Legal Internship requires a 12-16 week commitment. The internship is part-time, with weekly hours negotiable. Interns are highly encouraged to obtain funding from outside sources, as the internship is unpaid. Arrangements can be made for work/study or course credit.


The Legal interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working alongside the National Prison Project team. Interns will assist in all aspects of litigation. Interns will gain experience by working on the following:
Participating in discovery and motion practice.
Assisting in the drafting of motions and briefs.
Working on trials and appeals.
Providing technical assistance to local ACLU affiliates, cooperating lawyers, and other lawyers who seek assistance from the Project.
Other projects as assigned.

Excellent research, writing and communication skills.
Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including internet research.
The initiative to see projects through to completion.
Demonstrated interest in social justice and legal issues.
A strong interest and commitment to civil rights and civil liberties issues.


Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, the names and phone numbers of three references, and a legal writing sample to – reference [Spring 2012 NPP Legal Internship] in subject line – or by mail to:

Eric Balaban
American Civil Liberties Union
RE: 2012 Spring Legal Internship – NPP
915 15th Street, NW – Seventh Floor
Washington, DC 20005

Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this internship opportunity.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Hiring for Spring 2012 Legal Interns is expected to be completed by December 1, 2011. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their materials as early as possible.




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