Helping Individuals and Communities Heal after Incarceration

Jason Kanterman Rutgers Law School Class of 2016

As Jason Kanterman graduates from Rutgers Law School in Camden this week, he takes with him unique insights into the legal system and its many participants, thanks to a pro bono clinic designed to reduce recidivism among federal parolees.

Kanterman’s involvement in the Federal Prisoner Reentry Clinic, which provides direct representation and counsel to formerly incarcerated individuals on probation from the Federal Corrections System, and its partnership with the ReNew Camden Reentry Team, a combined effort by the Federal Courts, Office of Federal Probation, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Public Defender, introduced him to parties with a range of perspectives.

This panel met every other week to “collectively figure out what they can do to help” the parolees. Even more than legal representation, Kanterman said a huge benefit of the program is that it offers people “support and advice” as they make a fresh start. Most of the participants have spent between a few years and a decade in federal prison and giving them the tools to succeed — from pointers on financial literacy and college applications to getting a driver’s license or how to best dress professionally for a job interview — is critical for those involved.

“What is rewarding for me is to see how many other people are significantly dedicated to and invested in this program,” Kanterman says. “Everyone on the panel cares about the participants and works tirelessly to ensure their continued success.”

Kanterman, who is from Somerset and received his undergraduate degree from Rider University, knew he wanted to be a lawyer and worked part-time at law firms before beginning his legal studies.

He describes his time at Rutgers Law School as a “fantastic experience.” Combining strong legal studies with many opportunities for hands-on practical experience, Kanterman says, “Rutgers–Camden was a good fit.”

This summer, he will take the bar exam and begin a clerkship with Hon. Marie P. Simonelli, a New Jersey appellate judge in Newark. He plans to remain involved with the reentry program.

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