It’s hard to believe my internship at the LCADP is over. Although I’m not in New Orleans anymore, it won’t really be over. I feel very connected to this organization, so I will be keeping in touch, and finishing some projects over the next few weeks.
One task in particular was a challenging one for me: I created a phone app this summer, based on a calendar that was developed last year for Catholic Churches and High Schools to become more involved in social justice. This was new for me because I was not brought up in a religious household. I was able to accomplish the task however, and in doing so, I learned a lot about a part of peoples’ lives I knew very little about, and also learned how to work well with a different community. I was able to reach out to religious leaders and get feedback, advice and encouragement. This was a unique and wonderful experience that could have only happened by working for this organization in Louisiana.
This experience has given me an excellent platform to continue my entrance into the criminal justice field. I have made many connections this summer that I will carry with me both at Brandeis and in the outside world. I have applied to work for an Innocence Project housed at Brandeis because of this experience, and intend on looking in to Investigative Internships for next summer because of the work I did with investigators this summer.
After getting a taste of work in this field, I want to learn everything there is about criminal justice and human behavior. I am truly inspired and am actively seeking out more information. There is so much for me to learn, and I am very excited for all of it. I am keeping up to date on executions in the U.S., and continue to read through material I received this summer. A lot of the work I did was with defense attorneys, so I’ll be keeping in touch with them and following their work. I will also be keeping in touch with the inmates I met this summer, because they mean a lot to me, and I was lucky enough to become pretty close with them during my time in Louisiana.
My advice for students looking at this type of work would be to be prepared for very long hours. The people who work in the law offices I worked with do not sleep. It is very intense, hard, depressing work, so people with a sense of humor and a sense of justice are required. The humor is to stay sane, and the sense of justice is to remind you why you’re putting in 70 hours a week and not sleeping. It sounds horrible, but the work is the most fulfilling work I’ve ever experienced. I would also suggest doing more listening than taking. The people in this field know so much. They’re the best of the best because they’re self-selected to work as hard as they possibly can because most of the time they lose cases. They have to be smarter and better than the average lawyer and investigator, because they’re up against society’s norms and standards.
My goals and spirit for justice has been reinforced this summer, more than any other time in my life. I am positive that criminal justice is something I want to fight for. I was challenged a lot this summer by being in Louisiana. It’s a hard place to be when you’re fighting for the rights of poor people. What kept me going was the passion I felt, but also the grit and determination I observed from my boss and co-workers. It was beautiful, inspiring and refreshing. I couldn’t have asked for a better summer.
The botched execution in AZ hit me really hard. I had been following Joseph Wood’s case and went through an emotional rollar-coaster as he was granted stays then denied stays over and over. In the end, he was brutally killed, his execution taking over an hour involving a lot of pain. Read more: http://www.thereporteronline.com/opinion/20140802/botched-arizona-execution-proves-death-penalty-is-torture
More attention is being brought the the injustice of the death penalty! Let’s keep it going!