Intern Reflections

Georgia Justice Project (GJP) had a rewarding summer this year, with 6 interns coming on board to help with daily operations, administrative support, and our annual Back to School event. Summer is a busy time for GJP, and we rely on support from summer interns to accomplish as much as possible.

GJP’s legal interns this year included Natalie Savoie Cauley (Yale Law School), Bryant Anthony (Cornell Law School), Aaron Voldman (New York University Law School), and Margaret Studdard (Duke Law School). Legal interns provided valuable support to our legal department, including helping with casework and policy research.

GJP’s undergraduate interns this year included Whitney Westbrook (University of South Carolina) and Martha Selph (Elon University). Undergraduate interns are essential in helping to plan our annual Back to School event, along with supporting general administrative tasks throughout the summer months.

In addition to utilizing support from summer interns to expand our reach, GJP also offered the opportunity for interns to become invested in our work, and learn more about issues of criminal justice reform. Interns were asked to reflect on their time with GJP as the program ended. You can find excerpts from their experiences, as well as reflections from other past interns, below.

An Intern’s Reflection

“Last week the interns were shepherded to court with an opportunity to watch a plea hearing of one of GJP’s previous clients. This case was unique. Not only were the charges against the client severe but the case was closed almost five years ago when a jury handed down a guilty verdict. The case and the client, however, had a number of exceptional conditions that encouraged the judge to grant a new trial. The hearing impacted me in many ways. Not only was it was my first plea hearing but the client was my age. 

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Caiti’s Story

The past two weeks I have been astonished by the repercussions of our intake coordinator being gone. With just one component of GJP missing, there was suddenly a mad dash to pull together and keep things running. This illustrated the importance of each individual to our operation, which in turn illustrates the importance of our operation to our clients.

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Brittany’s Story

I have felt the most surprised when I hear the stories of our clients. Just when I think I have heard something so baffling that nothing else will surprise me, I am horribly surprised by another act/story of racism that our potential clients have dealt with.

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Barrett’s Story

When I first started, I did not understand why GJP did not take criminal cases outside of Fulton and DeKalb counties. But now I realize it is impossible to help everyone in those two counties. Dealing with intake daily, I have found GJP is a specific organization and there are still plenty of citizens out there who cannot find adequate representation.

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Claire’s Story

I have felt the most surprised that GJP doesn’t really screen potential clients based on guilt/innocence. During my first month, I’ve been struck that while staff usually has a sense about whether a particular client is guilty or not, it doesn’t affect their approach to the case. Instead, the screening is more about whether the client is really ready to move on and improve their life.

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Ashley’s Story

This month at GJP, I have felt most surprised when I realized exactly how close the office was to the MLK Historic Site. While shooting a short video about GJP on the back porch of Martin Luther King’s house, I saw the roof of the Georgia Justice Project.

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