Photo of Aubree Aguinaga

Aubree Aguinaga

  • Hosted by The Bronx Defenders
  • Sponsored by Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • Service location Bronx, New York
  • Law school Emory University School of Law
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform, Human Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Aubree (she/her/hers) represents New York City pre-trial detainees during disciplinary hearings and provides advocacy and education to meet the needs of low-income individuals experiencing human rights issues at Rikers Island.

Recent New York City policy allows counsel during jail disciplinary hearings for the first time, presenting an immediate need for research, education, data, and representation for low-income people of color who cannot afford bail in the Bronx. Bail amounts are 35% higher for people of color than White people, and individuals who cannot afford bail are four times more likely to receive a longer prison sentence since infractions can be introduced in bail applications and trigger new charges.

Aubree grew up in a primarily Cuban environment and recognized how her privilege differed from her community members, who were Afro-Latinx or Indigenous. While they shared a similar community, culture, education, and upbringing, she recognized she was treated differently than people she loved, who experienced the effects of institutional racism, incarceration, and barriers to justice in a way she did not due to the color of their skin.

Fellowship Plans

Aubree will create educational training programs for lawyers on disciplinary hearing rights, provide legal representation for clients in disciplinary hearings, and provide oversight by suing Rikers and the Department of Corrections (DOC) to challenge human rights violations. She will monitor the DOC’s shared data and combine it with her observed data to determine the efficacy of its new disciplinary hearing procedures. She will structure litigation to focus on implementing strategies that lay the foundation for broader systemic relief.

My Equal Justice Works Fellowship has afforded me the opportunity to serve members of the Bronx, the poorest congressional district and the borough with the largest Latinx population. I want to directly support Latinx communities by elevating the voices of the Bronx through advocacy in the plight of mass incarceration.

Aubree Aguinaga /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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