For the last three years, Fordham Law students have been traveling out to Rikers Island to work with incarcerated juveniles.
These boys are 16-18 years old, and many are charged with serious crimes. They are also smart, witty, and in some cases, ready to be intellectually engaged.
The program theoretically involves the law students conducting legal workshops, but I’ve always told participants that it’s a two-way street: we tell the juveniles how the law is supposed to work, and they tell us how it really operates on the street. The five-week programs, which run twice a year, culminate in an exciting mock trial where the juveniles play the prosecution, defense and jury.
This year’s Fordham group, a particularly committed bunch, has put together a video to secure funding from the ABA (American Bar Association) Good Works Project. The goal is to secure funding for the juvenile’s law library. Check it out to hear what student volunteers have to say about the program.
I wish we had pictures to post here, but cameras are obviously not permitted on Rikers.
If you want to get involved in the program, we’ll be revamping the program over the summer, and looking for ways to incorporate people of all professional backgrounds. If you are interested in volunteering this fall, or would simply like to learn more about what we’re doing, email LTDdotorg@gmail.com.