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Henrissa Bassey

2016, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Henrissa Bassey

Henrissa Bassey

Name of Host Organization: Bay Area Legal Aid
City, State: Oakland, California
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

The Project

This project will provide comprehensive legal and policy advocacy to address these challenges and ensure that delinquency-involved youth with disabilities stay in family-like settings and successfully reenter their communities.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Over 60,000 young people under age 21 are confined in juvenile justice facilities throughout the United States. 36 percent to 70 percent of confined youth have a specific learning disability or emotional disturbance. Henrissa will provide trauma-informed, civil legal representation to formerly instituionalized youth with disabilties to promote successful reentry and reduce congregate care placements.
The Right Person For This Project
Henrissa is the right person for the project because:
• As the sibling of an individual with autism and intellectual disabilities, she understands the unique obstacles juveniles with disabilities face
• Her work at the intersection of juvenile justice, education, race, and disability, has included serving as a Constitutional law teacher to high school students, a student attorney with a disability rights legal clinic, and an evaluator of the Alameda County Juvenile Reentry System
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

• Provide legal representation to formerly incarcerated youth with disabilities
• Build a partnership with Antioch Middle School to connect formerly confined youth with community-based mental health services and entitlements
• Develop education and training materials on the dynamic between race, incarceration, and disability
• Connect with youth of color with disabilities in the community to create a youth-led young equity leaders council