Return to Freedom Project

NACDL’s Return to Freedom Project, a banner title that covers an NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project, a Trial Penalty Clemency Project, and other NACDL compassionate and early relief efforts at the federal and state levels.

Through the various projects, NACDL and our partners match pro bono attorneys with clients that qualify for clemency or compassionate release. NACDL provides training and support throughout the process and built and maintains the online case management system that serves as the bedrock for all RFP efforts. As an example, in the NACDL Compassionate Clearinghouse Project alone, over 570 volunteers have been trained, and over 1,350 cases have been placed with Federal Public Defenders and pro bono volunteers. Since its commencement, 98 prisoners who were provided counsel through the Project have gained their freedom.

Since the launch of the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project in 2017, these initiatives have:

  • received over 9,000 applications,
  • recruited and trained over 1,700 attorney volunteers,
  • placed nearly 1,300 cases with more than 460 firms and other organizations,
  • filed for relief on behalf of more than 1,200 individuals along with defender partners,
  • gained freedom for more than 215 individuals, and
  • reduced incarceration by more than 1,000 years.

Supported by NFCJ

The NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice preserves and promotes the core values of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American criminal justice system.

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