Jessica Wolfe

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union of Washington
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Seattle, Washington
  • Law school University of Washington School of Law
  • Issue area Prisoners' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

In Washington State, thousands suffering from mental illness are warehoused in local county jails. Many are incarcerated because of behaviors clearly attributable to their illness. Additionally, the mental health of incarcerated people deteriorates as the conditions of confinement exacerbate mental illness. Those suffering from mental illness are often released into the community untreated, contributing to a cycle of recidivism and a “revolving door” of incarceration.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Jessica has:

  • Improved the conditions of confinement at the King County Correctional Facility by enforcing a settlement agreement and negotiating changes to policies and practices concerning solitary confinement and mental health services.
  • Led an effort to enjoin the unlawful treatment of people with mental illness at the Pierce County Jail, culminating in the filing and litigation of a class-action lawsuit, Bango v. Pierce County.
  • Played a central role in Kortlever v. Whatcom County, an innovative, first-of-its-kind class-action lawsuit to mandate access to Medication Assisted Treatment for people with opioid use disorder in the Whatcom County Jail.
  • Worked to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and its intersection with the criminal justice system through a series of community engagement and public speaking events.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Jessica plans to continue working to protect the rights of people in the criminal justice system as a Staff Attorney with the Washington Appellate Project, where she will handle appeals of criminal convictions, civil commitments, and terminations of parental rights.

Meet Other Fellows Like Jessica

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Cassandra Capobianco

Host: Florida Institutional Legal Services, Inc.

Sponsor: Advocacy Center for Persons With Disabilities, Inc., The Florida Bar Foundation

Joseph Longley

Host: American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project

Sponsor: Anonymous

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Maya Goldman

Host: Uptown People’s Law Center

Sponsor: Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation

Current Fellow

Marques Banks

Host: Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Sponsor: Covington & Burling LLP