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NIC Partners to Provide Civil Legal Services

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office for Access to Justice (OAJ) and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) launches a new civil legal services pilot program. The project provides legal assistance to justice-involved women incarcerated in BOP facilities. Its purpose is to curtail recidivism by addressing the civil legal issues, like debt collection, access to benefits, or child custody, that can block individuals from realizing successful reentry.

The partnership grew following a voluntary survey of more than 50,000 incarcerated adults. The respondents were asked to share information about their need for civil legal services, and the overwhelming response was that the services would be beneficial.

The pilot is currently limited select BOP facilities to allow for evaluation of the program before determining whether to expand the assistance throughout all BOP facilities.

In a DOJ interview, NIC Director (A) Alix M. McLearen called the collaboration “wonderful” and added that “addressing legal concerns while people are still in custody is a major step forward in promoting successful community reintegration…. [B]eginning the pilot with women continues our important work on equity and inclusion.”

a picture of a courtroom