The Survivors’ Project

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Stories of Resilience Redemption and Hope

The Survivors’ Project fights to end the incarceration of children in Texas who are survivors of human trafficking and interpersonal violence, and to obtain clemency for those who have already been convicted of crimes tied to their own victimization.

Currently, the Texas criminal legal system incarcerates children whose crimes were a direct result of, or incident to, human trafficking, intimate partner violence, and other abuse. Rather than see these children as survivors of crime who need a trauma-informed response to their victimization, the system often punishes them not only for their own crimes but also for those of their abusers.

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A survey of 130 youth survivors of human trafficking conducted by the National Survivor Network found that more than 40% had been arrested 9 times or more for actions performed under coercion by their adult abusers. Their resulting criminal records then make it difficult for them to get a job or to access safe and affordable housing, both of which are vital to achieving independence, stability, safety, and lowering recidivism.

Ron Jackson Project

LSJA runs an innovative pilot program to represent child survivors of sex trafficking who are currently detained in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. LSJA assures that these survivors receive appropriate treatment, clear any pending cases that prevent them from release, and avoid any transfers to adult prison.

*Ron Jackson project is not currently accepting referals from the public.

Clemency Project

LSJA also works to clear the records of those already convicted. In early 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in coordination with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP), established a clemency application for survivors of human trafficking or domestic violence, as a result of advocacy by LSJA.

Request Pro Bono Assistance 

You can apply for assistance from the Survivors’ Project through our online application. Submitting an application does not guarantee pro bono assistance. 

Volunteer to Represent Surviors

Looking to give some pro bono hours for a good cause? If you agree to take a pro bono case, you will be trained and receive free continuing legal education credit.

Receive Client/Family Support

LSJA provides support to families and formerly incarcerated youth. Reach out here to provide books, connect with others, and join our peer support groups.

In The News

Learn more about our efforts to support children and emerging adults in Texas.

Project Partners

INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

The Lone Star Justice Alliance (LSJA) is seeking interns in its Dallas and Austin offices for Summer 2024. LSJA is a nonprofit legal organization that improves the lives of youth and emerging adults in the justice system. We envision a justice system that uses developmentally-appropriate responses to behavior and treats youth and emerging adults with equity and dignity to promote resilience, conserve costs, and increase public safety.

YOUTH SENTENCING PROJECT

LSJA represents a number of individuals currently serving life or other extreme sentences for offenses that occurred during their youth. We are presently seeking interns to assist with factual and record investigation in these matters. Current law students are encouraged to apply. Intern responsibilities are likely to include record collection and review, interviewing of the client’s social network, correspondence with the client, drafting of memorandum and declarations, and potentially correspondence and collaboration with expert witnesses. Interns will be involved in strategic decision-making concerning the framing of litigation and will have access and input regarding any court filings and proceedings. The position is unpaid but there is a possibility of future employment. 

Duties: 

  • Client record collection (juvenile, child protective services, school, criminal, other) and review; 
  • Client and fact witness interviewing and memo writing; 
  • Regular client correspondence; 
  • Participation in strategic case discussions and decision-making. 

Qualifications: 

  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice; 
  • Strong organizational skills; 
  • Strong interpersonal skills (experience interviewing is a plus); 
  • Strong writing and communication skills. 

Please submit cover letter and CV to internships@lsja.org 

Supervisor: Elizabeth Henneke

CLEMENCY PROJECT

LSJA seeks interns to work on representing survivors of sex trafficking and intimate partner violence in clemency applications. This project will capitalize on the 2020 application established by Governor Abbott as a result of LSJA’s advocacy. The project entails identifying potential applicants and pro bono partners to submit a high volume of meritorious applications, as well as follow-up data collection and reporting to raise awareness about underlying issues. Interns will assist in all aspects of the project, from correspondence and review of records for potential applicants, to communication with pro bono organizations and practitioners, to preparation and review of application materials, to data collection/review and drafting of report sections. This is an exciting and rare opportunity to be part of a new initiative that stands to bring hope and redemption to a large number of people. Current law students may apply. The position is unpaid, but future employment is a possibility. 

Duties: 

  • Drafting and review of correspondence materials; 
  • Record collection and review; 
  • Participation in strategic conferences with partners; 
  • Communication with coalition and pro bono partners; 
  • Data collection/review; 
  • Possible report drafting; 
  • Client file maintenance (Clio). 

Qualifications: 

  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest work; 
  • Background in issues pertaining to sex trafficking, domestic violence, or other forms of trauma a plus; 
  • Strong interpersonal skills; 
  • Strong organizational and communication skills; 
  • Ability to coordinate multiple aspects of a complex project involving many and varied personnel; 
  • Ability to review and compile data/familiarity with statistical analysis. 

Please submit cover letter and CV to internships@lsja.org 

Supervisor: Elizabeth Henneke

IMPACT LITIGATION

LSJA is seeking interns to assist the organization in conducting impact litigation. Interns will help to file lawsuits intended to change the laws and policies that affect incarcerated youth in Texas. Interns will conduct legal research, draft briefs, and speak with clients. Goals include (1) improving the conditions of confinement for children, (2) lowering the number of children in confinement, (3) moving children in confinement closer to home, and more. This is an exciting and rare opportunity to be part of a new initiative that stands to bring hope to a large number of people. Current law students may apply. The position is unpaid, but future employment is a possibility. 

Duties: 

  • Research on incarcerate settings and civil rights violations; 
  • Data collection/review; 
  • Possible report and document drafting; 
  • File maintenance (Clio). 

Qualifications: 

  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest work; 
  • Background in issues pertaining to civil rights in incarcerate settings; 
  • Strong interpersonal skills; 
  • Strong organizational and communication skills; 
  • Ability to coordinate multiple aspects of a complex project involving many and varied personnel; 
  • Ability to review and compile data/familiarity with statistical analysis. 

Please submit cover letter and CV to internships@lsja.org 

Supervisor: Elizabeth Henneke