Clearinghouse Review News

Prison Phone Justice

Wage Fairness for Home Health Aides

Victims of Superstorm Sandy

Verdict for Workers with Disabilities

Sand Mining

Upcoming Training

Register to Read Clearinghouse Review

Let Prisoners Phone Home at Reduced Rates

Telephone handsetPrisoners who keep in touch with their families if only by telephone are not likely to relapse into crime and can move back more easily into their communities—thus the campaign to rein in the cost of phone calls from prison. In a Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, the Community Justice Project, St. Thomas School of Law, is calling on everyone to urge the Federal Communications Commission to control prison phone rates. The soaring markups benefit prison budgets but leave prisoners’ families having to choose between accepting collect calls and meeting their household budgets. A 15-minute call from a Minnesota prison, for example, can cost up to $20. Read the Community Justice Project’s article on this problem. For more information, contact Artika R. Tyner, director of diversity, Community Justice Project.

How Long Shall Home Health Care Aides
Wait for Wage Fairness?

Home health care aideHome health care aides are not but should be entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Through the years Clearinghouse Review has advocated such a correction not only in fairness to home health care aides but also in order to meet the burgeoning need for them nationwide. President Obama called attention to the problem as long ago as in his first presidential campaign. After a cost-benefit analysis, the U.S. Department of Labor submitted a proposal to change the rule to the Office of Management and Budget. For-profit home agencies, directors of state Medicaid programs, and disability rights advocates all had the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed rule. OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs gave itself until May 14 to review the Labor Department’s proposal. The president or vice president may choose to intervene if he dislikes the results of OMB’s review. The New York Times tells the story of home health care aides’ long wait for fairness.

Resources for Victims of Superstorm Sandy

Aftermath of Hurricane SandySix months after superstorm Sandy devastated the New York region, the situation is hardly back to normal. But victims and their advocates are picking up the pieces. They can turn to these resources for help: (1) Pro Bono Net’s new website,, for victims denied assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Administration; (2) Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s report on emergency preparedness; (3) National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty’s manual for advocates of children and students displaced by disasters; (4) WNYC’s follow-up reports on the superstorm; (5) NYLAG’s Mobile Legal Help Center’s Storm Response Unit described in the January–February 2013 Clearinghouse Review; (6) New York’s free-of-charge and comprehensive mold treatment, as reported by the New York Times; and (7) area law school clinics.

$1.6 million for 32 Workers with Disabilities

A federal district court judge in Iowa reduced to $1.6 million a jury’s award of $240 million to 32 men with disabilities for having been subjected to years of abuse by the company that arranged for them to work in a turkey-processing plant, the Associated Press reported on May 14. The reduction is due to the Americans with Disabilities Act’s $50,000 judgment cap per employee for businesses with fewer than 101 employees. The workers each never received more than $65 a month since the 1970s after the company deducted what it claimed to be costs of their board and lodging. Clearinghouse Review readers may remember the case from David T. Hutt’s article in the May-June 2011 issue.

Warning on the Effects of Sand Mining

More sand than ever is being mined to be used for extracting natural gas in hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Exposure to all that sand can lead to silicosis, a respiratory disease. Workers, communities, and the environment are at risk. Sounding this warning is Jill Krueger of the Network for Public Health Law. Krueger wrote an article for the 2012 “Hunger” special issue of Clearinghouse Review in which she saw the Farm Bill not as a subsidy source but as a resource for healthy food.


Register for Training in Community Lawyering, Negotiation Skills, and Affirmative Litigation

Community Lawyering, with training set for June 12–14, 2013, in New Orleans and early bird registration deadline set for May 22, aims to motivate and support lasting changes that bring about social justice and build grassroots leadership in our communities. Promoting an expansive view of the legal aid lawyer’s role, this training emphasizes thinking beyond litigation—while retaining litigation as a vital tool—in tackling the structural problems of low-income communities. Alternating case study work with an exploration of relevant issues in local communities, this training explores the process through which advocates contribute knowledge and skills to support initiatives identified by the community to enhance its power. Learn more and register today.

Negotiation skills trainingNegotiation Skills are an essential component of the legal aid and public interest law practitioner’s toolkit. Conducted through the Shriver Center’s Online Campus this new Web-based Negotiation Skills training allows lawyers and advocates to sharpen their existing skills and deepen their knowledge of interest-based negotiation. Join us on September 16-20, 2013, online. Learn more and register today.

Affirmative Litigation Training (ALT), September 30–October 18, 2013 (online) and October 22–24, 2013 (in person, Washington, D.C., area), is offered through a combination of Web-based and in-person learning activities and provides a comprehensive introduction to the process of prosecuting a complex affirmative case in federal or state court. It includes a mix of interactive sessions, webinars and multimedia lectures on the substantive law of claim justiciability, as well as practical exercises on discovery, complaint drafting, motion practice, and emergency relief. Learn more and register today.

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