Shiv Rawal

The Project

Shiv (he/him/his) advocates with and for older adults in New York prisons through parole assistance and appeals representation, re-entry support, and legislative advocacy.

The percentage of older people in New York prisons has nearly doubled over the past 30 years—a dire trend as the COVID-19 pandemic places older adults in prison at particular risk of illness and death. At the same time, parole, one of the only means for obtaining release from prison, remains out of reach for many incarcerated older adults. Older adults often navigate their parole proceedings without assistance, receive repeated denials from the Parole Board, and face barriers to re-entry if they succeed in obtaining parole. Rigorous parole assistance and parole reform are important tools toward the urgent need to release older people from prison.

Fellowship Plans

Shiv will strive to make parole a more accessible and successful reality for older adults in New York prisons. He will provide direct assistance in older adults’ parole applications and parole hearings, represent older adults in appeals of parole denials, and support older adults on parole in their re-entry needs. Shiv will also advocate for legislation in New York that would make more older adults in prison eligible for parole consideration.

I have learned invaluable lessons from community members incarcerated in New York. Through this project, I build on what they taught me and hope to honor their ongoing efforts toward a more just world.

Shiv Rawal /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Emma-Lee targets collateral consequences of juvenile arrests through direct representation, community education, and law reform so New York City youth can pursue higher education, employment, and professional licenses.

Each year, thousands of youth are arrested as juvenile delinquents in New York City and will face discrimination and collateral consequences due to that arrest. Sealing records, ensuring record accuracy, and counseling on non-disclosure will make a crucial difference for youth who already face over-policing and are unable to pay for private counsel who typically seal and expunge these records. Many impacted individuals who will be served by this project are otherwise unaware of the legal protections available to them and are denied or discouraged from pursuing jobs, licenses, or admittance to a higher education institution, as a result of arrest-related discrimination.

This project aims to break down barriers to employment and education by enforcing New York Family Court Act’s protections and empowering New Yorkers with juvenile arrests to defend their rights against record-based discrimination.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the past year, Emma-Lee has:

  • Represented 21 individuals in juvenile delinquency proceedings, including dispositional conferences and motions to seal
  • Advised 14 individuals with juvenile delinquency arrests and adjudications on the Family Court Act record-related protections relating to employment and higher education
  • Successfully challenged criminal history reports that contained erroneous juvenile records
  • Conducted trainings on the New York Family Court Act post-dispositional protections and record-related provisions for New York City legal organizations that represent people impacted by the criminal and juvenile legal systems
  • Established a collaborative relationship with New York City and state agencies to ensure juvenile record accuracy

Next Steps

In the next year, Emma-Lee plans to:

  • Continue representing individuals in Kings County Family Court and advising those with juvenile delinquency arrests and adjudications on employment and record-related protections
  • Expand record-related statutory protections in the Family Court Act through legislative reform
  • Draft and distribute Know Your Rights Manual accessible to young people, their communities, and lawyers regarding arrest disclosures, sealing and expungement, and collateral consequences

Media

Two Stein Scholars Awarded Equal Justice Works Fellowships

As a former high school teacher, I have witnessed how an arrest stemming from the purported rehabilitative system of delinquency court can stifle the ability of a young person to access employment, licenses, or higher education—the very opportunities that would propel them from a life rooted in poverty, stigma, and recidivism.

Emma-Lee Clinger /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Arielle provides holistic advocacy for transgender, gender-nonconforming, intersex (TGNCI) and/or HIV+ immigrant New Yorkers to gain immigration status and access to health care—including gender-affirming procedures—through direct immigration legal services, community partnerships, and legislative advocacy.

There are an estimated 15,000 to 50,000 transgender undocumented individuals in the U.S. Undocumented TGNCI individuals, doubly marginalized due to citizenship status and gender identity, face particular vulnerabilities: one in four transgender individuals report experiencing discrimination in health care, and one in three report verbal harassment or refusal of treatment. Disparities in care are compounded when an individual is undocumented, and as a result, uninsured. Further, TGNCI undocumented individuals are often criminalized and detained due to police profiling, targeting and harassment. If detained, TGNCI individuals are subject to conditions that lead to rapid deterioration in their physical and mental health, such as solitary confinement, inconsistent administration of HIV medication, and denial of hormones.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

During the first year of the Fellowship, Arielle has:

  • Launched the UndocuCare TGNCI+ Project and provided immigration legal representation to 25 individuals who identify as transgender and/or are living with HIV, including work permits granted for 10 clients with their correct gender marker
  • Solidified a community partnership with the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP) and presented to members on access to health care and other public benefits for immigrant New Yorkers
  • Advocated on behalf of asylum seekers to have harmful ankle monitors removed
  • Established a mutual referral partnership with the LGBT Community Center of Manhattan, ensuring that TGNCI clients obtain access to gender-affirming health insurance navigation
  • Hosted a legal name change clinic and training with the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) for fellowship sponsors AIG and S&C, who took on clients’ legal name change cases pro bono

Next Steps

In the next six months, Arielle plans to:

  • Ensure continued access to health care and gender-affirming procedures for clients and continue representing TGNCI clients and/or clients living with HIV in their immigration proceedings
  • Work with clients to obtain identity documents with their correct legal name and gender
  • Deepen expertise for T-visa and U-visa cases for survivors of trafficking and other crimes and increase outreach to NYC-based and sex-worker led organizations already doing this work

Media

Introducing the 2020 Fellows Fighting for the LGBTQ+ Community

While working at the border and in immigrant detention centers outside of New York City, I saw firsthand how manageable illnesses can turn fatal in immigrant detention—especially for LGBTQ and HIV+ folks.

Arielle Wisbaum /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Inspiration

The Inspiration

The Project

Lexie worked with the Domestic Violence Project (DVP) at the Urban Justice Center, which is committed to supporting and advocating for domestic violence survivors. In line with the DVP’s holistic approach, Lexie addressed survivors’ housing needs along with other legal issues they face. Additionally, Lexie survivors of their housing rights, offer direct representation to those facing housing discrimination and engage the community through outreach and advocacy efforts to ensure that the VAWA ‘s housing provisions and NY laws are implemented.

Media

The Project

During her Fellowship, Gina provided legal services for women with children living in Harlem who were threatened with eviction from public or subsidized housing due to the collateral consequences of criminal charges.

98% of low income people facing eviction go unrepresented. Due to mass incarceration and War on Drugs policies, one in four women has a loved one incarcerated. Women with incarcerated loved ones regularly face housing instability due to losses of household income when a family member is incarcerated; the costs of bail, court, commissary expenses, fines and fees; and policies that lead to tenancy terminations in low income housing resulting from criminal cases. Through direct representation and free tenant legal clinics with the support of pro bono attorneys, this Fellowship keeps women and the family members relying upon them housed. 

Fellowship Highlights 

During the two-year Fellowship, Gina:

  • Designed and implemented a housing defense practice
  • Represented more than 100 low-income women in eviction cases
  • Provided service referrals for more than 400 individuals

Next Steps

Gina Clayton-Johnson is the Founder and Executive Director of Essie Justice Group, the nation’s leading advocacy organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration. She is also the central architect of the BREATHE Act, the largest piece of federal legislation delivered to Congress by a social movement. 

Media

PBS News Hour: A Brief but Spectacular Take on Women with Incarcerated Loved Ones

Black Mama’s Bail Out Project Supports Incarcerated Moms, Urges LA County to Prioritize Alternatives

14 Women of Color Who Rocked 2014

The Project

As an Equal Justice Works Fellow, Jeremy increased access to disability benefits for people experiencing homelessness who are unable to manage the bureaucracy needed to obtain benefits they are qualified for.

Many homeless people who should qualify for disability benefits are unable to get through the process to receive benefits, and many homeless service providers do not understand how to help them get the income they so desperately need to pay rent or other housing.  This project was designed to work with the Social Security Administration and homeless service providers to increase access to benefits for homeless persons.

Fellowship Highlights

During his Fellowship, Jeremy:

  • Obtained $30 million in funding from Congress to fund SSI access demonstration programs for people experiencing homelessness
  • Worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to design a manual and training curriculum for homeless service providers to help them assist clients with SSI applications and appeals
  • Wrote several articles for legal journals advising legal services attorneys on how to help homeless clients access public benefits

Next Steps 

Jeremy serves as Director of Economic Justice at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. Jeremy is a career civil and human rights lawyer. Most recently, he helped form the Iowa Housing Partnership—Iowa’s first statewide affordable housing coalition. While Executive Director of the ACLU of Iowa, he fought for workplace justice and other civil rights and liberties issues. Before moving to Iowa, Jeremy spent 15 years in Washington D.C. doing legal and lobbying work to ensure people with low income and people experiencing homelessness could access public benefits and affordable housing. Jeremy worked to ensure people were not criminalized simply for being homeless. He began his career as a public benefits attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami. In his spare time, Jeremy has coached Little League Baseball for 17 years.

Media 

Exploring the Link Between Unemployment and Poverty

‘Folks Really Rely On Those Offices’: Illinois Senate Takes Questions On IDES Reopening

The Project

Nonprofit community development corporations (CDCs) build much of the affordable housing and community facilities in low-income neighborhoods.  They need legal help to get the most from new laws and programs that have encouraged green building in the private and public sectors. My goals are to help CDCs access green development resources so that residents can enjoy the health, environmental and economic benefits of green building, and to help Brooklyn A and other advocates develop an expertise in green community development.

The Inspiration

The Inspiration