Tobias B. Rodriguez

  • Hosted by Cabrini Green Legal Aid
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Issue area Family Law
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Tobias provided legal services to fathers who have been recently released, or will soon be released, from incarceration who are seeking to establish/re-establish relationships with their minor children.

A 2004 study found that 52% of people incarcerated in state prisons are parents. Mass incarceration disproportionately affects families of color, separating parents from their children. While studies have shown that strong family connections reduce recidivism among adults and decrease the chances a child will experience future arrest, when a father is incarcerated, he faces significant obstacles to being a continued presence in his child’s life. The fathers served by this project benefitted from family law legal services, had access to Cabrini Green Legal Aid’s interdisciplinary model combining legal and social work services, and learned from family law classes.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Tobias:

  • Represented currently and formerly incarcerated fathers in their family law issues, including divorce and parenting matters
  • Provided legal advice to currently and recently incarcerated men across Illinois who otherwise would not have any legal resources
  • Built partnerships with two community father-centered organizations and conducted both in person and virtual family law classes and received client referrals
  • Conducted virtual family law classes for currently and recently incarcerated men
  • Coordinated effort to send soap, colored pencils, and activity booklets to incarcerated men at Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center, with the assistance of sponsor Greenberg Traurig

My desire to create more inclusive communities and make legal assistance more accessible to those who need it informs my work.

Tobias Rodriguez /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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