Newark Reentry Legal Services (ReLeSe)
ReLeSe, a legal services program of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, is designed to help individuals with criminal records address civil legal matters that are barriers to successful community reintegration. Organized through a collaboration among Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s Office, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, and other organizations, and with the support of community based organizations, local law firms, IOLTA and the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, ReLeSe matches clients with volunteer attorneys to handle issues most commonly encountered by recently incarcerated individuals but not handled by existing legal services programs. Referrals to the program are made by local service providers that work with the reentry population, as well as by Newark City Hall. All assistance is provided free of charge.
Who is eligible for ReLeSe?
Any low-income Newark (or Essex County) resident who has been incarcerated in jail or prison, or otherwise has a criminal record, is eligible for ReLeSe assistance. Individuals can qualify regardless of how much time has passed since their release. ReLeSe attorneys have been trained to handle the following legal issues:
- Suspended driver’s licenses
- Municipal court issues
- Child support issues (on a case-by-case basis)
Clients facing other legal issues (e.g. bankruptcy, divorce, landlord/tenant disputes, consumer issues) are referred to VLJ or to a ReLeSe volunteer who may be an expert in that area of law. Click here for more information.
ReLeSe provides training in all of the above-mentioned areas of law. Mentors are available to assist with all matters. Malpractice coverage, model forms and pleadings, and exemptions from mandatory pro bono are some of the benefits provided to volunteers of ReLeSe.