Spring 2019 Undergraduate Internship, National Prison Project, DC in Washington D.C.

Spring 2019 Undergraduate Internship, National Prison Project, DC
American Civil Liberties Union
Washington D.C. DC USA

Job Details

Updated on 2019-07-09


American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

National Prison Project 

Washington, D.C.


For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.  Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.

The National Prison Project of the ACLU’s National Office in Washington, D.C. invites applicants for Spring 2019 Undergraduate Internships. Stipends will be offered to interns who do not receive course credit and/or outside funding. Arrangements can be made with educational institutions for work/study or course credit



Founded in 1972 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Prison Project (NPP) seeks to ensure constitutional conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, and immigration detention facilities. The Project seeks to promote prisoners’ rights through class action litigation and public education. Its priorities include reducing prison overcrowding, improving prisoner medical care, eliminating violence and maltreatment, and increasing oversight and accountability in prisons, jails, and other places of detention.

The Project also works to challenge the policies of over-incarceration that have led the United States to imprison more people than any other country in the world. This is an opportune moment to reform those policies. There is a growing consensus among criminal justice experts and policymakers that America’s criminal justice system has relied too heavily on incarceration as the first and often only response for non-violent behavior that could better be addressed through other means. The population in American prisons and jails has tripled in the past 15 years and now approaches two and a half million. Facilities are overcrowded; medical systems are overwhelmed; work, education, and treatment programs are inadequate; and prison violence has increased. This failed experiment does not make us safer, it is not affordable, and it exacerbates the racial disparities that have long plagued the criminal justice system.

The Project, with a staff of six lawyers, has fought and continues to fight unlawful prison conditions and practices through successful litigation on behalf of prisoners in more than 25 states. Since 1991, the Project has represented prisoners in five cases before the United States Supreme Court. The ACLU is the only organization litigating prison conditions of confinement nationwide on behalf of men, women, and children.



The Spring Internship is typically part-time with weekly hours that are negotiable, requires a commitment for the semester beginning in January 2019.

Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working alongside the National Prison Project team. They will also learn about creating change through class action litigation and about building and supporting strategic legislative and advocacy campaigns. Work may include the following:

  • Assisting with the production and distribution of advocacy materials
  • Conducting factual research and writing regarding criminal justice policy and legislative movement
  • Gathering current information related to prison and jail conditions
  • Documenting and tracking complaints received from prisoners and responding with informational materials
  • Providing campaign and litigation support to supervising attorneys
  • Other projects as assigned



This Internship is open to students who have completed their first year of college, and who are enrolled in a relevant undergraduate program.  Applicants must possess:

  • A strong interest in criminal justice and a commitment to civil rights
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to work independently
  • Excellent research, writing and communication skills 
  • Strong computer skills, particularly web-based research including proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access)



Please send a cover letter describing your interest in prison reform and civil liberties, including any relevant life or work experience; a short writing sample; a resume; and three references to . Reference [Spring 2019 Undergraduate Internship, NPP] in the subject line.  If applying for a part-time internship, please specify in your application your preferred weekly schedule.  Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address.  This email address is specific to National Prison Project postings. In order to ensure your application is received please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address.


Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this internship opportunity.

Students are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible, as decisions are made on a rolling basis.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


This posting provides a general but not comprehensive list of the opportunities of the internship.  It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the posting at any time without advance notice.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, and record of arrest or conviction. 

The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact: . Correspondence sent to this address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed.  Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”

Spring 2019 Undergraduate Internship, National Prison Project, DC
American Civil Liberties Union
Washington D.C. DC USA