The Cleveland Foundation awarded Case Western Reserve University two grants totaling $400,000 to help fund two initiatives geared toward racial and environmental justice at the School of Law.
Both two-year grants will support the law school’s Environmental Law Clinic as well as the Criminal Sentencing Project.
“These two projects exemplify one of the key goals of Case Western Reserve University School of Law—service to the greater Cleveland community—a goal which aligns perfectly with the mission of the Cleveland Foundation,” said Jessica Berg, co-dean of the CWRU School of Law.
The Criminal Sentencing Project, an initiative at the law school run through the Social Justice Law Center, studies demographic-specific data in Ohio regarding criminal sentencing based upon the type and level of offense, and length of sentence.
The Environmental Law Clinic, housed within the law school’s Kramer Law Clinic in partnership with the Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law, is a new interdisciplinary clinic addressing environmental law and policy problems on behalf of individual clients and organizations, including environmental groups, nonprofits and community organizations.
The objectives for the law school’s Criminal Sentencing Project grant include: driving positive change in racial equity in the actions of judges in Cuyahoga County and, eventually, throughout the State of Ohio; fostering transparency and public awareness; and increasing engagement among law students in racial justice work.
“Unfortunately, we have little information to help us understand the health, social and economic impacts of incarcerated people,” said Katrice Williams, Cleveland Foundation senior criminal justice fellow. “The sentencing project will help us understand how people of different demographics are being treated during their criminal sentencing and help us develop better and more innovative ways for addressing societal problems that we choose to cure and treat with mass incarceration.”
The foundation’s support will help the Environmental Law Clinic to increase community engagement and defray litigation expenses involved in addressing local environmental and energy justice issues.
“Environmental justice is an issue of tremendous importance and is amplified daily by the increasingly numerous and significant environmental and climate threats we’re facing,” said Stephen Love, Cleveland Foundation program director for environmental issues. “The CWRU Environmental Law Clinic will help address environmental and energy justice concerns in Greater Cleveland.”
“We are thrilled to continue to partner with the Cleveland Foundation to move forward in these important areas of racial and environmental justice,” Berg said.