- Summer 2019 Legal Internship, National Prison Project, DC, USA

Summer 2019 Legal Internship, National Prison Project, DC



For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, advancing racial justice, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than one million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, and record of arrest or conviction.


The National Prison Project of the ACLU’s National Office in Washington, D.C. seeks applicants for its Summer 2019 Legal Internship. A stipend is available for those students who do not receive outside funding and/or course credit. Arrangements can be made with the student’s school for a work/study stipend or course credit. 





Founded in 1972 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Prison Project (NPP) seeks to ensure constitutional conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, and immigration detention facilities. The Project seeks to promote prisoners’ rights through class action litigation and public education. Its priorities include reducing prison overcrowding, improving prisoner medical care, eliminating violence and maltreatment, and increasing oversight and accountability in prisons, jails, and other places of detention.


The Project also works to challenge the policies of over-incarceration that have led the United States to imprison more people than any other country in the world. This is an opportune moment to reform those policies. There is a growing consensus among criminal justice experts and policymakers that America’s criminal justice system has relied too heavily on incarceration as the first and often only response for violations of the law that could better be addressed through other means. The population in American prisons and jails has tripled in the past 15 years and now approaches two and a half million. Facilities are overcrowded; medical systems are overwhelmed; work, education, and treatment programs are inadequate; and prison violence has increased. This failed experiment does not make us safer, it is not affordable, and it exacerbates the racial disparities that have long plagued the criminal justice system.


The Project, with a staff of six lawyers, has fought and continues to fight unlawful prison conditions and practices through successful litigation on behalf of prisoners in more than two dozen states. Since 1991, the Project has represented prisoners in five cases before the United States Supreme Court. The ACLU is one of the only organizations litigating prison conditions of confinement nationwide on behalf of men, women, and children.






Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working alongside the National Prison Project team.  More specifically, legal interns will:



Work closely with staff lawyers on major class action civil rights lawsuits challenging unlawful and unconstitutional conditions of confinement in federal court

Work on integrated advocacy campaigns addressed criminal justice issues affecting incarcerated persons

Provide technical assistance to ACLU local affiliates, cooperating lawyers, and other lawyers who seek assistance from the Project

The internship is full-time and typically requires a minimum 10 week commitment.






Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working alongside the National Prison Project team on the following:


Conducting legal and policy research

Drafting memoranda, affidavits and briefs

Researching prospects for new litigation, including both factual and legal claims

Researching and drafting materials for public education





This internship is open to law students who will have completed their year of school before the internship commences. Interns should possess the following:


Excellent research, writing and communication skills

Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, and conducting internet research

The initiative to see projects through to completion

A commitment to civil liberties, civil rights, and social justice

A familiarity with criminal justice issues is highly desirable

Commitment to the mission of the ACLU





Please send a cover letter describing your interest, including any relevant life or work experience gained before or during law school; a current resume; a legal writing sample; and a list of three references to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Reference [National Prison Project Summer 2019 Legal Internship] in the subject line.


Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to National Prison Project postings. In order to ensure your application is received please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address.




Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this internship opportunity.


Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and accepted until the position is filled.




This posting provides a general but not comprehensive list of the opportunities of the internship. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the posting at any time without advance notice.


The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, and record of arrest or conviction.  


The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.


We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Correspondence sent to this address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed.  Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.


The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”



Job posted on 17th September 2018

Please mention Political Jobs when applying to this position