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Prison & Family Justice Project

The Prison & Family Justice Project (PFJP) serves families divided by incarceration and the foster-care system using a combination of client representation, know-your-rights education, targeted litigation, and advocacy. By providing a range of family law services to people in prison and their families, PFJP works to reduce the likelihood that parents will lose their children permanently as a result of their incarceration. PFJP advocates alongside people in prison and their families to reduce the impact of incarceration and to promote family reunification and successful reentry into society.

Legal Resources
Individuals and families who are equipped with the tools they need to make informed decisions upon arrest or incarceration can significantly reduce familial consequences. PFJP’s Parenting from Prison Handbook informs parents about their rights and responsibilities and provides information on setting up a temporary guardianship, navigating foster care, modifying a child support order, getting visits with their children, and more.

Know-Your-Rights Education
PFJP runs legal education classes in prisons, jails, and pre-release centers, as well as workshops for relatives caring for children with incarcerated parents. PFJP partners with agencies offering parenting classes in prison and jails to incorporate legal information into their curricula.

Client Representation
As part of MLaw’s Child Advocacy Law Clinic, PFJP represents incarcerated parents in foster-care proceedings at the trial and appellate level. At the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, PFJP works with clients in Wayne County to resolve criminal justice-related barriers to family reunification.

Trainings & Technical Assistance
PFJP trains foster-care workers, attorneys, and other child welfare professionals on maintaining parent-child contact, facilitating prison visits, and supporting children of incarcerated parents and their caregivers. PFJP also provides technical assistance to organizations and agencies working to expand visitation and communication for prison families.

For more information or to schedule a training, contact:

Amanda Alexander, Soros Justice Fellow
701 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Phone: 734.763.7794
Fax: 734.647.4042
Email: Alexanas@umich.edu

Resources:
Building Bridges: A Workbook for Children with an Incarcerated Parent
Sesame Street Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration Toolkit
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