The Youth Offender Parole Clinic is a two-semester course that provides students with the opportunity to represent a client in a Youth Offender Parole Hearing. Youth Offender Parole Hearings (YOPH) are specialized parole hearings for people who were convicted of serious offenses when they were juveniles or young adults (under the age of 23). Clients must have served at least fifteen years in custody in order to qualify for a YOPH, and many of our clients have served twenty to thirty years in prison.
Students in the Clinic develop practical research, writing, and oral advocacy skills while learning more about the substantive areas of criminal sentencing, juvenile justice, and post-conviction law. In the first semester, the class meets regularly to introduce students to the relevant substantive law. Students travel to a prison to observe a YOPH and to observe an interview with a client. At the end of the semester, students conduct a mock parole hearing to practice the skills they have learned so far.
Each student is matched with an individual client. Under the professor’s supervision, students prepare their clients for a parole hearing. Students in the Clinic work with clients to develop parole plans, maintain written correspondence with clients, write a professional quality brief along with supporting exhibits, and communicate with other stakeholders, including clients’ family members. Each student represents their client in a parole hearing at a California prison under the professor’s supervision. Students are responsible for making objections, asking clarifying questions, and delivering closing arguments.
Students must apply to enroll in the Youth Offender Parole Hearing Practicum by completing an application, typically in the spring semester.