Our Reentry Law Project provides individual legal assistance to clients of MercyCorps Northwest who have recently been released from prison. Our clients need a wide range of forms of legal assistance, in particular with family law matters, debt, and understanding court judgments and other documents. We may help someone secure a driver's license so they can get to work, address a past eviction so they can find housing, or modify a child support order so their contribution to the costs of raising their child fairly reflects their income.
Our aim is to reduce recidivism, improve public safety by addressing the unmet legal needs of people returning to the community after a period of incarceration, deal with the root causes of reoffending, and systematically reform and reduce the collateral consequences of convictions.
MercyCorps Northwest's Reentry Transition Center provides an array of services to around 1000 formerly incarcerated people each year. Our partnership allows their clients to access free direct legal assistance including intakes, advice, and referrals to specialist attorneys.
We track information on trends and issues affecting our clients that may point to a need for changes in practice, policy, or law. Where we see change is needed, we will promote reform through public education and by engaging lawyers, courts, academics, policymakers, and legislators as well as those most directly affected by incarceration and its consequences.
We facilitate presentations to inmates by expert guests and formerly incarcerated individuals about relevant laws, government procedures, and practical tips about reentry concerns such as employment, housing, consumer law, family law, etc.
To learn more, please contact our Project Director, Julia Yoshimoto.