Milo Vieland

The Project

Milo’s (he/him/his) project will provide holistic legal representation to low-income transgender clients in Chicago facing insurance coverage denials for transition-related medical care.

Transgender people face significant barriers to obtaining transition-related healthcare. Despite the overwhelming consensus of medical associations and clinicians that transition-related healthcare is effective, medically necessary, and often life-saving, transgender patients must navigate a complex and ever-changing array of health insurance policies to obtain coverage for surgery, while simultaneously attempting to update their names and gender markers on identification documents. Furthermore, the poverty rate for transgender people is 29%, twice that of the general population. Lack of economic security compounds issues of access to medical care for low-income transgender people, who also face barriers to public assistance access. Without comprehensive legal assistance across these issues, many transgender people are barred from essential medical care, economic security, and full civic participation.

Milo’s experiences fighting for his own and others’ healthcare have shown him the power of legal advocacy to create meaningful change in people’s lives.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Milo will utilize the medical-legal partnership between Legal Council for Health Justice and Howard Brown Health to provide holistic legal services to transgender clients. He will represent clients facing insurance denials for transition-related healthcare. He will offer legal assistance with the processes of name and gender marker changes on vital records. Additionally, he will advocate for clients’ economic security by providing comprehensive legal assistance with public benefits.

Media

Four Northeastern Law Students Awarded Equal Justice Works Fellowships

Trans people are in the practice of relying on each other for access to medical care and other resources. This project is an extension of that mutual support.

Milo Vieland /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Dolly aims to reduce the scope of probation in Pennsylvania through a combination of education, advocacy, and litigation.

Although probation is often viewed as an alternative to incarceration, data shows that it functions as a major driver of mass incarceration throughout this country. Populations under community supervision are overlooked when addressing mass incarceration, even though they make up the majority of jail populations and new prison admissions in many regions. Probation violations that cause people to be reincarcerated are often technical (non-criminal) violations, such as staying out past curfew, missing a meeting with a parole/probation officer, failing a drug test, associating with people who have criminal records or falling behind on paying court costs and other fees. Many people under community supervision also struggle with mental health or substance abuse issues—conditions that are exacerbated by constant reincarceration and which make it far more difficult to comply with parole or probation conditions. Dolly’s project seeks to shed light on the social impact of community supervision while also finding ways to challenge its overuse.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

During the first year of the Fellowship, Dolly has:

  • Expanded local Court Watch Program to observe and collect information on probation violation hearings.
  • Trained dozens of new volunteers for the Court Watch program.
  • Collected data on 600+ probation violation hearings.
  • Shared policy recommendations regarding pretrial incarceration with the state legislature.

Next Steps

In the next six months, Dolly plans to:

  • Assist with the development of a local pro bono probation detainer program.
  • Develop impact litigation aiming to reduce the size of the pre-trial population.
  • Publish an in-depth report on probation in Allegheny County.
  • Launch a local campaign to end the use of probation detainers in Allegheny County.

Media

What would a less-policed Pittsburgh look like? A community coalition offers its vision

Gaskew to speak as part of online panel

The more I learned about probation and parole, the more I realized that these “alternatives” to incarceration keep people trapped in perpetual oscillation between restrictive supervision and reincarceration, ensuring that they never have the stability they need to break free from this cycle.

Dolly Prabhu /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Abigail’s Fellowship served to improve school safety by advocating for the provision of comprehensive school- and community-based mental health services for at-risk students.

Children with behavioral health challenges are often identified as disciplinary problems or safety threats, rather than provided with the types of educational support services that would allow them to remain in the classroom. This project sought to advocate for students to receive nonpunitive interventions that prevent the escalation of risky behaviors and ensure schools are safe, supportive learning environments for all kids.

Prior to law school, Abigail worked with children in out-of-home care who had mental health needs and developmental disabilities, seeing the difference made by behavioral health services inspired her to advocate for systemic reforms to make school a safer, more welcoming place for all students.

Fellowship Highlights

  • Advocated for students with mental health needs to receive accommodations for their emotional wellbeing, thus reducing class time lost to ineffective disciplinary measures or crisis interventions.
  • Won settlements for young children who experienced repeated restraint, removal, and involuntary psychiatric examination without the consent of their parents while in school.
  • Prevailed at an administrative due process hearing for violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on behalf of a student who cycled through hospitals, juvenile detention centers, and different schools because of her disability, but was not receiving consistent, non-confrontational behavior interventions services as required by her IEP.
  • Collaborated with state and national civil rights organizations to challenge policies that criminalize rather than provide behavioral services to youth for conduct related to their disabilities.

Next Steps

After the fellowship, Abigail will continue advocating for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities to get necessary services at school and in their communities. Abigail will join Southern Legal Counsel as a full-time attorney with the Children’s Legal Services Keep Kids in School Project.

Media

Helping Students Back to School Amid Uncertainty

FAMU Law Graduate Selected for Equal Justice Works 2019 Class Of Fellows

Too many children are perceived as merely “bad,” when a complex set of environmental and biological variables may impact their ability to function at the same levels as their peers.

Abigail Adkins /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

The first five years of children’s lives have a profound impact on their education and future. These years present a significant opportunity to detect developmental delays and provide intervention and education to redress disparities. Randi provided direct representation, outreach, and education, and policy advocacy to improve access to early intervention and education services in New York City for low-income children ages 0-6 who have a higher risk of having academic difficulties.

The Project

Rachael focused on providing access to public benefits for youth in out-of-home care as a means to maximize their placement stability, facilitate educational success, and increase their overall safety and well-being. Without legal assistance, the benefits to which a youth may be entitled are never applied for, may be grossly miscalculated, or may be improperly denied, the result of which is devastating on the youth’s permanency and safety in their placement.

 

The Project

Each year the U.S. detains unaccompanied immigrant children who have to navigate a complex immigration system without the benefit of counsel. I will develop a legal orientation curriculum and attorney toolkit to empower advocates to meet the unique needs of this population. I will produce specialized legal orientation scripts with visual aids, a workbook designed to enhance comprehension of important legal information, materials to help advocates overcome the challenges of rapport-building, and an online toolkit for attorneys who represent children in court.

The Inspiration

The Inspiration

The Project

I work for sentencing reform on behalf of Massachusetts youth. Despite their developmental immaturity and relative lack of resources, children in the U.S. are often punished no differently than adults. Children in Massachusetts face uniquely punitive statutes: those 14 and older charged with murders are automatically tried as adults. Conviction means a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole (LWOP). With 2,381 people serving LWOP for crimes committed before they turned 18, the U.S. stands alone in imposing the sentence on youth.

The Inspiration

The Inspiration

The Project

Our most basic commitments to due process and human dignity are violated when Immigration Courts are used to deport unrepresented individuals with mental disabilities. Stephen expanded access to counsel for immigrants facing removal to countries where, without mental health care and family support, they will be subject to institutionalization and abuse. At Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Stephen provided direct representation, trained pro bono attorneys and created a database of resources for advocates.