2016 Public Interest Grant Recipient
Susan Sobel is a third year law student at Seattle University School of Law. She graduated with honors from Pitzer College with a B.A. in Critical Community Studies, a self-designed major focused on urban studies with an emphasis on community engagement. She also minored in Spanish.
Sobel first visited the juvenile probation Camps Afflerbaugh and Paige during her college orientation and committed to working there through her time at Pitzer. After graduating, she taught for two years with InsideOUT Writers in “The Compound” at Sylmar, which houses juveniles prosecuted as adults. For Sobel, working in that unit was especially influential in her choice to pursue a career in public defense. These experiences gave her the opportunity to sit in court and better understand the way incarceration affects families and communities.
Sobel also worked in Los Angeles with gang violence reduction programs and reentry services and did criminal justice policy reform work. In 2014, she was offered a full-tuition scholarship at the Seattle University, as their “Scholar for Justice”. Her first summer she worked with the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth in Washington, D.C., and this past summer she clerked with the Los Angeles County Public Defenders. She worked in both a felony rotation and at Eastlake Juvenile court.
The idea for Sobel’s Navigating Traffic Fine project was developed working in collaboration with the community of formerly incarcerated peoples at the Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Los Angeles. This project is intended to help alleviate one of the often-overlooked barriers to reentry. Sobel believes we’re in a critical historic moment when mass incarceration is a hot topic and wants to create resources and engage in conversations that will help shed light on this issue and assist in changing the narrative around criminal justice.