Prisoner Assistance Clinic
Maine Law Students in the Prisoner Assistance Clinic go to the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, where they help inmates with civil legal matters. The Clinic provides much needed civil legal services to all of the female prisoners in the state, as well as to the medium security male prisoners at the correctional center in Windham.
Because of its large client base (about 200 cases annually) and the varied legal problems faced by incarcerated individuals, the Prisoner Assistance Clinic provides student attorneys with a diverse and ever-changing legal practice. Student attorneys in this program handle matters involving family law (including guardianship of prisoners’ children), wills, living wills, powers of attorney and other probate matters, civil litigation growing out of various issues, occasionally including the original crime that may have brought the prisoner to the Clinic, collection of unpaid wages and other debts, social security and many other issues. The diversity of issues and subjects provides students with extensive opportunities to develop a variety of lawyering skills and to address intriguing legal issues.
Every week the student attorneys go inside to meet with prisoners who have requested the Prisoner Assistance Clinic’s help and decide what needs to be done for the specific legal problem presented. Some problems are simple and can be answered during the first visit. Other problems are handled with the student providing detailed legal assistance to the client and the client handling much of their own case. For some cases the student lawyer does all of the work that a private lawyer would do, including negotiations, litigation, trial and occasional appeals. Student lawyers have represented prisoners in a full range of civil issues in all State and Federal Courts in Maine.