By Jessica Almeida, LISP-SIS
As part of their local chapter’s Service Committee, members of LISP-SIS helped raise $7,700 for the New England Innocence Project (NEIP).
Started in 2000, NEIP has been working in the New England region to shine a light on criminal justice reform and help individuals who have been wrongfully convicted. Originally, the New England Innocence Project accepted cases of prisoners who could be exonerated through the use of DNA testing. Now, their caseload also includes individuals who were mistakenly identified by witnesses or were victims of police misconduct. Guided by a small staff and an army of volunteer lawyers and law school interns, the NEIP has exonerated 70 people from Maine to Massachusetts. To read their stories, please visit http://www.newenglandinnocence.org/new-england-exonerees/. Due to budget concerns over the past year, the NEIP has been unable to accept new clients.
In conjunction with their biannual meetings, the Law Librarians of New England (LLNE) Service Committee provides an outlet for their members to give back to the community. In the past, members have given stuffed animals to Project Smile, Raspberry PI computers to a local Girls Who Code club, and books to the Rhode Island House of Corrections. This fall, the LLNE meeting was held in partnership with the Southeastern New England Law Librarians Association (SNELLA). The meeting theme was “Hysteria, Hyperbole, and Witch Hunts: 1697 & 2017.” Held in the hometown of the Salem Witch Trials, the meeting looked at historical legal resources and discussed current informational bias.
The New England Innocence Project seemed to be the perfect fit for the meeting theme, so the call went out to LLNE and SNELLA members to give what they could to NEIP. Members donated a total of $3,850, with a very generous $3,000 contribution coming from librarian Kathy Ludwig and her father, Bruce Williams. NEIP also set up matching donations through an anonymous donor, so that doubled the effort to $7,700, making it the most funds the committee has raised in one project.