2024 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

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Headshot of Josh Goldstein

Josh Goldstein

  • Hosted by Equip for Equality
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform, Disability Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Josh (he/him/his) will work with Equip for Equality to provide direct legal services to people with disabilities in Illinois who are re-entering the community from prison but are at risk of re-institutionalization due to a lack of adequate accommodations provided during and after discharge planning.

Hundreds of people with disabilities are released from Illinois prisons each year without the accommodations that they need in order to effectively integrate into society. Many of these individuals cycle through other costly systems: evictions, homelessness, and emergency rooms; and other institutions: jails, nursing homes, and inpatient facilities. This prison-to-institution pipeline is enormously harmful to these individuals, whose health frequently deteriorates during these destabilizing events. This unfortunate course of events happens because the state fails to coordinate and provide the services needed to support people with disabilities in living dignified lives in their communities upon reentry.

Josh witnessed the systemic barriers that his family and friends with disabilities face, which motivates his life-long pursuit of justice in partnership with disability justice organizers and lawyers.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Josh will seek to prevent this prison-to-institution pipeline by representing incarcerated people with disabilities through litigation and advocacy. This representation will focus on compelling the Illinois Department of Corrections and state agencies to provide the coordinated services needed to stop this cycle before it starts. For those released from prison without accommodations, Josh will utilize the community integration mandate under the Americans with Disabilities Act to address their need for disability-related services in the community to prevent institutionalization.

Many of my clients with disabilities describe feeling invisible after being released from prison. This Fellowship enables me to support disabled people who are released from prison to obtain reasonable accommodations that will help them live dignified lives in their communities.

Josh Goldstein /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Host: Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem

Sponsor: Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Wilson Baker

Host: American Civil Liberties Union, Disability Rights Project

Sponsor: Anonymous

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Christine Lehmann

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Sara Pezeshkpour

Host: Housing Rights Center

Sponsor: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP