We are proud to share that our Law Day in the Schools program, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, was featured in the Boston Globe’s education section earlier this week.
In the piece, which Globe staffers traveled to William J. Ostiguy High School to report, BBA President-Elect Carol Starkey is quoted on the importance of Miranda Rights, which was this year’s topic for the Law Day in the Schools lessons.
“These words really embody the fundamental rights that we all share as citizens in our criminal justice system — regardless of race, regardless of gender, or income, or sexual identity. It means that we’re all to be treated in a fair and equitable manner,” she told the Globe.
Ryan Sakoda, a Liman Public Interest Fellow at the Committee for Public Counsel Services, does a lot of work with defendants in the midst of a dispute over housing. As an attorney working in the public defender’s office in Boston, he frequently works to help clients who are facing eviction or who are having a hard time finding affordable housing because of a criminal record.
That’s why he wanted to volunteer to teach a session for the BBA’s Reentry Education program. During two recent sessions, Sakoda spoke to federal probationers and CHOICE participants about their options for getting into public housing in spite of their history.
“Many people that have contact with the criminal justice system are low-income, and so a lot of them do rely on housing assistance,” Sakoda said. “In order to move on with your life, housing is really the foundation to regain some stability and get past the contact with the criminal justice system.”
Sakoda said many of those with a criminal record get discouraged and do not apply for public housing, because they have heard about the difficulties from other people in a similar position or because they have applied before and been denied. During the training, Sakoda covered an applicant’s right to appeal the decision if they are denied housing, a step that he said many people do not take.
“The truth is that there just aren’t enough public interest lawyers to fully represent all the people that need this kind of legal assistance. That’s why I feel it’s so important that the BBA and other organizations put on these informational programs,” Sakoda said.
Remember Casino Night? Now that the temperatures have warmed and plans for the summer are on our minds, March feels like it was a long time ago. But we wanted to share where the proceeds went.
Thanks to the support of Casino Night sponsors, 10 Boston public high school students will have the chance to work at legal service and government agencies. The Boston Bar Foundation is funding students to work at the following organizations:
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
United States District Court – District of Massachusetts
Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association
Thank you to these organizations for hosting a BBF-funded student. We can’t wait to kick off this exciting program later this month!