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Headshot of Meghan McLeroy

Meghan McLeroy

  • Hosted by Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Southern Company
  • Service location Birmingham, Alabama
  • Law school University of Alabama School of Law
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Meghan (she/her/hers) will focus on vindicating the rights of older Black Alabamians incarcerated for unreliable, racially motivated convictions through novel data collection and analysis, direct representation, and local coalition building.

Nearly 7,500 people incarcerated in Alabama’s prisons are over the age of 50. Though Black Alabamians make up only 25% of the state’s total population, half of the elder prison population is Black. This disparity is a direct result of historical “tough on crime” policies that disproportionately sentenced Black Alabamians to life with or life without parole. While systemic reforms in the 2000s led to shorter sentences and increased procedural protections for criminal defendants, those reforms neither apply retroactively nor affect defendants’ post-trial protections. Such inadequacies mean that hundreds of Lifers will die in Alabama’s chronically overcrowded prisons unless those with legal power take a second look at their cases.

Meghan’s commitment to racial justice was cultivated in the unlikeliest of places—on a farm in an overwhelmingly white, rural Alabama community. Her passion for her home state and its people drives her to work toward a more equitable legal system for all Alabamians.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Meghan will represent older Black Alabamians serving life with or life without parole whose sentences predate certain state legal reforms. She will partner with local service providers to funnel current community momentum for sentencing reform into political momentum. Additionally, she will draft a policy report on the issues facing the project’s target population to help Alabama Appleseed’s policy team advocate for “Second Look” legislation.

Media

Greenberg Traurig Sponsors Record 201st Equal Justice Works Fellow

My Equal Justice Works Fellowship will allow me to fight for Black Alabamians who continue to pay the price for decades of racially motivated criminal justice policies that prioritized punishment over due process.

Meghan McLeroy /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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