We are thrilled to share that Program Director Sabi Ardalan and Program Managing Attorney and Crimmigration Clinic Director Phil Torrey have been selected to join the Bellow Scholar Program. The Bellow Scholar Program recognizes and supports the research projects of clinical law professors that reflect the ideals of Professor Gary Bellow, one of the founders of the clinical legal education movement. Every two years, the Bellow Scholar Program seeks innovative project proposals from clinical legal educators designed to improve the quality of justice in communities, enhance the delivery of legal services, and promote economic and social justice.
“Empirical research has always been something I’ve been interested in pursuing, but did not have the background or experience I thought was necessary,” said Phil. “But working with the Bellow Scholar community has been so supportive and encouraging.”
Sabi and Phil’s project focuses on solitary confinement in immigration detention. They will examine how frequently solitary confinement is used in immigration detention and the reasons ICE and detention facilities give for placing individuals in solitary confinement. Sabi and Phil will focus on whether there are safeguards in place to protect individuals with mental illness from solitary confinement and what treatment options are available. They will focus their research on data obtained through FOIA requests and Privacy Act requests from Massachusetts and subsequently expand on that research to study other states across the country. Given the lack of available public data on the number of immigrants placed in solitary nationwide since 2013, their first goal is to discover how many immigrants have been affected by this practice and the reasons given. Next, they will examine the safeguards and processes in place to screen people before, during, and after they are subjected to these conditions. Sabi and Phil will be collaborating with Dr. Arevik Avedian, a Lecturer on Law and Director of Empirical Research Services at Harvard Law School.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the Bellow Scholars community,” said Sabi. “The other empirical studies our colleagues have been pursuing are incredibly important and inspirational. I’ve learned a great deal from them.”