Student News: Jasmin Hernandez DuBois ’24 Wins First Place in the American Association of Law Libraries’ Annual Student Writing Competition

Jasmin Hernandez DuBois ’24 was awarded first place by the American Association of Law Libraries’ annual student writing competition. Her paper, “The Intersection of Justice and Legal Education: Legal Education for America’s Prisoners,” focused on prison law library reformation and history throughout the United States. It also featured first-hand research by DuBois on the first two prisoners to receive their law degrees in Minnesota. This research was crucial to understanding the structure and barriers to providing education to prisoners, especially in the legal education context.

“Prisoners often face a lifetime of trauma and institutional barriers to success before receiving their sentences,” DuBois said. “This makes rehabilitation all the more crucial.” In 2021, Minnesota became the first state to provide a J.D. program for incarcerated people. “My paper focused on the structural and practical implications of that program: how prisoners attended lectures, took exams, and received feedback on course work. What support looked like for them in their unique situation,” she said.

“The two incarcerated scholars, whose education is funded by the Legal Revolution, have shown tremendous tenacity and strength in ensuring they can meet the challenges of the already stressful process of law school while in a punitive, highly controlled environment such as prison,” she said. The legal scholars began their J.D. in 2022 and anticipate matriculating by 2025.

DuBois’ paper was written under the guidance of Professor Joan Howland, associate dean for information and technology and the Roger F. Noreen Professor of Law, and Professor Ryan Greenwood. In addition, DuBois took the legal history class at the Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center which she attributed as helping to inform and inspire her interest in how legal education is acquired by inmates when appealing their sentence. Her paper was presented at the annual American Association of Law Libraries’ conference in Boston,

Joan Howland

Associate Dean for Information and Technology
Roger F. Noreen Professor of Law

Ryan Greenwood

Associate Law Librarian
Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections