The Prisoners’ Legal Education and Advocacy Project

By Christopher Zoukis

A major pro bono initiative of Penn Law, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the Prisoners’ Legal Education and Advocacy Project (PEAP) has various components that include educational outreach for prisoners.  With a curriculum developed by Penn Law professors, teams of law students actually prepare and deliver individual class lessons and deliver them to the student prisoners.  The mission of the program is meant to instill empowerment among prison populations as well as to advocate for the prisoners by better understanding their issues and needs.  The program is also meant to instill better understanding of prisoner issues among Penn Law’s legal students.

The Prisoners’ Legal Education Program   Image courtesy https://www.law.upenn.edu/probonoprojects/plea/

PEAP is one of those rare in-prison projects that is as important for the prisoners that receive instruction as it is for the instructors themselves.  The law students that participate in the program are grouped and led by an upperclassman.  Team members develop lesson plans and are, of course, under the guidance of professors, but the teaching experience is meant to provide Penn Law students with insight about “how the criminal justice system treats those charged with crime.”  Teaching also helps the students understand the material better themselves as they work with student-prisoners. 

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