The Southern Center for Human Rights provides legal representation to people facing the death penalty, challenges human rights violations in prisons and jails, seeks through litigation and advocacy to improve legal representation for poor people accused of crimes, and advocates for criminal justice system reforms on behalf of those affected by the system in the Southern United States.
The Center represents individuals facing the death penalty at all stages of litigation, consults with lawyers throughout the country on capital cases, and works with other organizations and individuals in efforts to end the use of the death penalty; brings impact litigation to challenge unconstitutional conditions and practices in prisons and jails and inadequate systems for providing legal representation for poor people accused of crimes; publishes reports and articles on these and other issues including judicial independence and the need for more humane and constructive responses to crime; and advocates for positive (and against negative) criminal justice policies and legislation.
Robert F. Bensing, 1955-1998, an attorney at the Center, our friend and colleague, whose life was cut short as he was returning from visiting prisoners at Valdosta State Prison, after a career as a VISTA volunteer, an attorney with Prisoner Legal Services in New York, a volunteer work for immigrants through various organizations, and the Center. He set a marvelous example of selfless service to others and his commitment, spirit, dedication, and sense of humor continue to inspire us as we continue the work. For Stephen Bright’s eulogy to Bob on behalf of the Center click here.