The ACLU of Nevada (ACLU-NV) is excited to announce the selection of our 2010 Prisoner Rights Fellow, Rebecca Paddock. With Ms. Paddock’s help, the ACLU-NV will engage in a ground-breaking effort to take a new approach in tackling serious concerns regarding Nevada’s prison by analyzing systemic problems and possible violations of human rights standards. The position is funded in large part by a grant from the national ACLU’s Human Rights Program.

The ACLU-NV has spent decades advocating, lobbying, and litigating around the problems in Nevada’s prison system. Considering Nevada’s current budget problems, however, the need to use innovative public advocacy approaches to address systemic issues in our criminal justice system and prisons has never been greater. The ACLU-NV’s Prisoner Rights Fellowship will involve the application of international human rights standards to medical and mental health treatment, and other issues affecting incarcerated individuals in Nevada’s state prisons and county jails.

Ms. Paddock’s knowledge of human rights norms, deep commitment to civil liberties, and her interest and scholarship about Nevada’s prison population make her a perfect fit for the project. Rebecca grew up in Madison, Wisconsin but now calls the Southwest home. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in 2006, and graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas' William S. Boyd School of Law in 2009. Rebecca has always been interested in civil rights and human rights and, as part of her law school education, she externed for the Nevada Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, interned at the ACLU-NV, and participated in the Boyd School’s Innocence Clinic. Rebecca also lived in South Africa for a summer studying constitutional and criminal law. This past year Ms. Paddock has been a clerk for United States District Judge Philip M. Pro in Nevada. Notably, Ms. Paddock wrote a legal article arguing that conditions in Nevada’s Ely State Prison may fall afoul of human rights norms, so she has a huge head start in applying human rights norms to Nevada’s prisoners.

Ms. Paddock will join the ACLU-NV in the fall of 2010, and will spend three months analyzing medical and mental health in Nevada through a human rights lens. The final result of the fellowship will be a white paper that addresses international human rights standards as applied to Nevada prisons.