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Phoenix Rice-Johnson

  • Hosted by Center for Appellate Litigation
  • Sponsored by The Arnold & Porter Foundation
  • Service location New York City, New York
  • Law school Yale Law School
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform, Women's Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Phoenix (she/her/hers) provides civil-legal reentry support to victims of domestic violence and other trauma survivors who are released from incarceration due to a reduced sentence under New York’s recently enacted Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act.

Approximately half of people released from prison in New York State end up in homeless shelters. Many formerly incarcerated individuals face housing and employment discrimination due to their criminal records, which exacerbates their challenges with homelessness and unemployment. And individuals leaving prison often lack any government ID, which makes obtaining benefits like food stamps and social security disability insurance nearly impossible. Phoenix aims to support survivors of domestic violence navigate these challenges by providing them with legal reentry support.

Fellowship Plans

Phoenix aims to support survivors of domestic violence with their reentry needs so that they can reunite with their communities, avoid reincarceration, and end the cycle of trauma and criminalization that affects so many. Her Fellowship involves three components: providing direct civil legal services to individual clients (e.g. assisting clients in appealing denials of government benefits); drafting a guide on best practices for trauma-informed lawyering and reentry support for survivors of trauma; and building relationships with other reentry organizations to better connect clients to the services they need.

My sister has been directly impacted by the dual harms of domestic violence and incarceration. Witnessing her struggle and her strength is what inspired me to support other individuals navigating the reentry process.

Phoenix Rice-Johnson /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Alicia Virani

Host: California Conference for Equality and Justice

Sponsor: Bingham McCutchen LLP

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Rebecca Burney

Host: Rights4Girls

Sponsor: PepsiCo, Inc.

Emma Roth

Host: American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project

Sponsor: The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Stephanie Ciupka

Host: Lawndale Christian Legal Center

Sponsor: Latham & Watkins LLP