Photo of Misty Oka

Misty-Ann Oka

  • Hosted by Root & Rebound Reentry Advocates
  • Sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, AT&T
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Misty-Ann (she/her/hers) will prepare formerly incarcerated individuals in Southern California to reunite with family, gain stability, and successfully reintegrate through direct legal services and public education workshops.

Formerly incarcerated individuals face over 44,000 legal sanctions upon release that can complicate or even prevent reuniting with family, finding employment, and securing housing, among other challenges. These barriers to reentry limit meaningful opportunities for those with a criminal record to live full, productive lives and can directly and substantially disadvantage families for generations. This project will provide much-needed streamlined direct legal services that prepare formerly incarcerated parents to reunite with their families and navigate challenges to reentry—challenges that disproportionately impact people of color and have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Misty-Ann’s personal history, work experience with youth and adults involved in the criminal justice system, and her connection to the social justice community in Los Angeles, including Root & Rebound, inspired this project.

Fellowship Plans

During Misty-Ann’s Fellowship, she will strive to improve the well-being of system-impacted families through (1) streamlined direct legal services (e.g., representation in family, dependency, or probate court), legal workshops, and community education; (2) mitigation of the negative impact of a criminal record on family strength and stability; and (3) reduction of recidivism and multi-generational cycles of criminal justice involvement.

With the support of the Equal Justice Works Fellowship, I am returning to serve the community that inspired me to attend law school.

Misty-Ann Oka /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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