First-level interns are responsible for assisting participants who are part of the federal re-entry court, named the James B. Moran Second Chance Program, or the SOAR Court, a pre-trial diversion court. The two re-entry courts work with individuals (participants) who are serving a term of supervision after release from the Bureau of Prisons – typically referred to as parole within the state system. All participants have a documented substance abuse history and drug aftercare requirement as part of their supervision. They also participate in the program on a voluntary basis. The court seeks to offer a creative blend of treatment, reward and sanction alternatives to effectively address participants’ behavior and rehabilitation on an individualized basis, with the ultimate goal of reducing recidivism, assisting in successful reintegration in society, by connecting participants to resources, and promoting safety within communities. The SOAR court works with selected individuals who are facing federal, felony charges, but due to extenuating circumstances, may be able to prove the unlikelihood of recidivism by completing the SOAR program.
Second-level interns work on individual cases assigned to them by one of two Mitigation Specialists in the FDP. Cases begin by request from any one of the staff attorneys who is seeking assistance with finding mitigation for a client’s eventual sentence, but clients may also need the assistance of the mitigation department in order to avoid re-imprisonment during their period of supervision after prison, or in order to make a request of the U.S. Attorney not to charge an individual with certain charges based on their unique circumstances. This position allows second-level students to become familiar with the criminal justice system, attend/observe court hearings and interact with professionals in various disciplines of the federal criminal justice system. Students also have individual contact with clients and collateral sources, often developing close relationships with clients based on numerous visits and interviews, that enable clients to discuss their prior experiences and histories; the goal is to assist the attorneys and court in understanding their clients’ backgrounds, traumas, experiences, and future needs.
Summer Block Students:
Summer block students have the unique opportunity to do work in both areas described above. Problem-solving court responsibilities and duties would likely occupy approximately 1 – 1.5 days of work per week, while mitigation work and other case assignments would typically occupy the majority of hours of work per week. All students will be working with other social work interns at the same time, in the same room, to promote unity and allow collaboration with each other on cases for which they are primarily responsible.