Prison Paralegal Program

By: Legal Aid Society (LAS), Legal Aid Office (LAO)

The Legal Aid Office Project operates under the umbrella of the Committee for the Welfare of Prisoners, a committee established by the Government of Sindh in 2004 for the welfare and legal assistance of underprivileged prisoners. The Committee is headed by the Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid and operates in 21 prisons with the objective of promoting access to justice and legal empowerment for underprivileged prisoners. The Legal Aid Society (LAS) is a sister organization of the Legal Aid Office (LAO) which was founded in 2014 as a society with the objective of improving legal empowerment and access to justice. In addition to providing direct legal representation before courts, the organizations have been involved in providing legal awareness and literacy to their beneficiaries through various programs.

Since 2014, legal literacy and paralegal programs have been run across prisons. During 2014-2015, 780 prisoners from 9 prisons were provided with basic legal literacy. As the program developed, LAS piloted a convict-led paralegal program in the Central Prison Karachi, the biggest prison facility in the province, where trained convicts would conduct legal literacy sessions for other inmates under supervision of lawyers. The program has also helped other inmates seeking legal information related to their cases or information on prison rules