The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world and Los Angeles incarcerates more people than any other city in the United States. One of the biggest drivers of mass incarceration over the past two decades has been the use of cash bail to incarcerate people pretrial. The negative consequences of pretrial incarceration primarily impact communities of color and low-income communities.
The Pretrial Justice Clinic takes a two-pronged advocacy approach to tackle the injustices of pretrial incarceration. First, students represent clients in felony bail hearings in collaboration with the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office. Second, students engage in a policy-oriented project focused on systems change in the pretrial context. This approach is designed to train students in multi-modal advocacy that connects individual client work with opportunities for systems transformation.