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Shepherd Internship
Erin Walters
The Public Defender Service for the
District of Columbia (PDS)
• Mission: The Public Defender Service for
the District of Columbia (PDS) provides
and promotes quality legal
representation to indigent adults and
children facing a loss of liberty in the
District of Columbia and thereby
protects society's interest in the fair
administration of justice.
• Community Defender Division (CDD):
Juvenile Services Program (JSP)
Community Reentry Program (CRP)
• Institutional Services Program (ISP)
Accomplishments of PDS
• Regarded as one of the best public
defender offices in the country
• Represents up to 60 percent of individuals
determined to be unable to obtain
adequate legal representation in DC
Other 40 percent are represented by private
attorneys pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA)
• Consists of seven (7) legal services divisions
to represent clients in as complete a way as
Mental Health
Special Litigation
Community Defender
Civil Legal Services
Institutional Services Program (ISP)
• Serves as the PDS liaison to individuals convicted of DC Code
offenses and held in Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities
• Provides information to assist these individuals and monitor their
conditions of incarceration
• Consists of two attorneys, Keisha Robinson and Almo Carter, and
shares one investigator—Eddy McDermott—with the rest of CDD
Responsibilities/My Accomplishments
 Worked primarily under both attorneys in ISP, and with the ISP law clerk
 Answered letters from currently and formerly incarcerated individuals
regarding any issues or questions they had about incarceration
 Interviewed clients in the Central Detention Facility (DC Jail) in
preparation for Disciplinary Hearings within the facility
 Interviewed currently and formerly incarcerated men in regard to
conditions of confinement
Medical Services
Food Services
Physical Abuse
 Drafted a Report outlining findings re conditions of confinement
 When finished, it will be presented to the Warden
A Typical Day in ISP
• 9:30 am Arrive at the office and • 2:00-3:00 pm Watch Jail Calls
discuss work to be done for the
for a case represented by a lawyer
at the main office
• 10:00 am-1:00 pm Interview • 3:00-4:30 pm Write memos for
individuals at the Jail
• 1:00-2:00 pm Answer letters
from clients and organize box of
letters to be opened
the clients spoken to that day
• 4:30 pm Send daily report to all
in the office and go home
 When free, we court watched
 Bureaucracy
 Getting information for cases was often difficult
 PDS and the “government” (police officers, the DC Jail, and prosecution)
have an adversarial relationship
 Tense relationship between the DC Jail and my partner and I as a result
of our investigation
 Progress was slow
 Records can take weeks to obtain
 Most cases (with the exception of juvenile cases) take months from start
to finish
 Thrown into the mix feet first
 The Criminal Law Internship Program (CLIP) training the other three (3
Shepherd Interns and I completed proved to be largely irrelevant to our
work in CDD; the training was specific to the Trial Division
 My partner and I were given a lot of freedom and little direction
throughout our internship
My SSLP, Summer 2013
The Share Foundation for the
Handicapped (Sharing Meadows)
• Rolling Prairie, IN
• Summer Camp for adults with
developmental and intellectual
disabilities/full-time residency for
other-abled “villagers” who live in
community with “stewards”
SSLP vs. Shepherd Internship
Sharing Meadows
 Lived in the camp dorms with
my fellow counselors along with
the campers during the week
 Lived on Catholic University of
America campus with the other
13 Shepherd interns in DC
 Completed weekly readings
and journals, and wrote a paper
at the end of the experience
 Lived under a $14 a day
budget, which covered food
and transportation
 Worked with adults with
disabilities (ages 18-78)
 Worked with incarcerated
individuals (ages 19-60)
 Rural setting (Rolling Prairie, IN)
 Urban setting (Washington, DC)
Understanding Poverty
• Sharing Meadows
Different from most SSLPs, as this was a disability SSLP
Campers and villagers were not necessarily financially poor
I learned a lot about love during my time at Share, so it was
fruitful despite not placing an emphasis on economic poverty
All clients of PDS are indigent; however, I spoke with many nonPDS clients at the DC Jail who may not have been poor
Still, 80-90 percent of those at DC Jail are indigent
Overall, the experience illuminated the connection between
crime and poverty, and the related connection between race
and poverty

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