Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I am now one month into my internship with the Arizona Capital Representation Project and I’m still learning so much every day. The Project is in touch or involved in some way with almost every prisoner on death row in Arizona. I have, therefore, undertaken a wide variety of tasks over the past few weeks – reflecting the huge span and diversity of the work the Project does. These tasks have included helping to track the progress of each capital trial and Post-Conviction Appeal case in the state; both by going to court and through conducting research in the Records Office. Particular highlights of the work so far have been attending a hearing for the litigation which is underway, challenging the state’s use of the lethal injection and accompanying mitigation specialists on their trips to interview jurors.

Working alongside such incredible and passionate lawyers has already inspired and taught me so much. I have been particularly moved by the strength of the relationships between all the staff at ACRP and their clients. After having often been told in England that I need to be less emotionally involved in or attached to the work I do, it has been a pleasure to work in an environment where loving and caring for clients is something to be celebrated and where caring for the prisoners’ overall well-being is prioritised alongside the processing of their legal claims. (Hence my task of writing to the prison warden to try and persuade him to provide our client with new dentures, for example.)

Outside of the office, I am just about getting to know and growing to love a city which at first seemed overwhelmingly huge. Being surrounded by mountains and cactus has made for some beautiful hikes and provided a great setting for the music festival I attended with my fellow intern this last weekend!