CLEAR Clinic and ACLU of Oregon's Legal Intake Program Partnership

The ACLU of Oregon is excited to announce our partnership with CLEAR Clinic! In this partnership, CLEAR Clinic and ACLU of Oregon are collaborating to receive and respond to requests for legal assistance from people incarcerated in Oregon’s prisons and jails. 

“We are honored to have CLEAR Clinic’s direct service expertise in creating and providing legal resources to people who are incarcerated,” says Kelly Simon, Legal Director of ACLU of Oregon.

For decades, the ACLU of Oregon has operated an intake program with the support of a team of volunteers. A significant portion of intakes each year were from people in Oregon’s prisons and jails. Between September 2022 and September 2023, the ACLU of Oregon received approximately 200 requests from incarcerated Oregonians. 

As the ACLU of Oregon transitions away from its legal intake program, this new partnership with CLEAR Clinic is an incredible opportunity to sustain the important role of the intake program for incarcerated Oregonians and increase the organization's staff capacity to develop impact litigation strategies.

Together we hope to:

  • Increase access to justice for people who are incarcerated by providing them with information about their rights and self-help resources to vindicate them when they are being violated
  • Maintain and grow connections between incarcerated Oregonians and the Oregon legal community
  • Increase court oversight of and insight into how Oregon’s jails and prisons treat people in their care
  • Increase the number of attorneys who advocate for the rights of incarcerated Oregonians


The CLEAR Clinic is well equipped to take on this project due to their large-scale community-based criminal record relief project and open-access legal services. The CLEAR Clinic also receives many communications from adults in custody, in part due to having completed legal clinics, which include criminal record expungement services, for adults currently in custody in Oregon. Very few attorneys have a practice that litigates habeas or other prisoner rights cases. This opportunity gap is what the partnership seeks to narrow by empowering incarcerated people to assert their rights more effectively.  

“This partnership is a natural fit for our clinic, where we provide broad scale access to justice for folks impacted by the criminal legal system, both in and out of custody. We're experienced in providing legal services that are limited in scope, but still life-changing, to a large number of people. We are excited to leverage this experience to help adults in custody access desperately needed legal resources,” says Leni Tupper, Director of CLEAR Clinic. 

Check out our list of frequently asked questions to learn more about this work and partnership!


Here is a list of frequently asked questions and answers about our legal work!

frequently asked questions about our legal intake system

What kind of legal work does the ACLU of Oregon engage in?

The ACLU of Oregon has a relatively small legal team (currently a team of one full time staff member and hopefully soon to be two) and focuses on impact litigation, which is litigation geared towards changing the law — not just winning a case. Impact litigation aims to establish precedents that move the legal needle in the direction of a desired outcome. Impact litigation cases may start small, and they often take years, but when successful can create binding precedent that changes the city, state, region, or even the country. Some examples of this are Loving v. Virginia and Dobbs v. Jackson.

Many people need a good lawyer, but many of those people do not have an impact case. This was the vast majority of the thousands of intake cases we have processed. We realized that direct services intake was not our strength or fully aligned with our unique role in the legal advocacy space. That is why we're excited to partner with CLEAR Clinic to sustain this important body of work!

What’s happening with the intake program?

The ACLU of Oregon is largely terminating its intake program, but seeks to continue being connected to and providing resources to people who are incarcerated through the CLEAR Clinic program. 

Our intake will also continue to respond to and pursue strategies that strengthen student rights, legal resources and advocacy capacity. 

How can I request legal support?

To send a request as an incarcerated person or on their behalf, please complete our complaint form. Alternatively, if you or a loved one is currently incarcerated, please send a written letter, “Attention: Prison/Jail Intake" to P.O. Box 40584 Portland, OR 97240.

For legal requests not related to an incarcerated person, feel free to report the concern via our complaint form. Please know that submitting this form does not guarantee a response, as our capacity is limited and our intake program is largely closing. If our legal team is able to provide additional resources or thinks your case presents an opportunity for impact litigation, they will contact you.

If you are facing an upcoming court date or similar deadline, you should continue to try to find an attorney. The Oregon State Bar provides attorney referrals and has programs for those with limited ability to pay for legal advice. You can learn more about those programs here. 

How can I stay up-to-date on the cases you take on? 

You can sign up for our email list to receive regular emails about our work, or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter (@aclu_or). We also post about our cases on our website. You can search for specific cases by name or issue area under the “Our Work” tab, “Legal Cases.”  

I believe my civil rights and liberties were violated. If you cannot provide me with legal services, who can? 

We know it can feel frustrating to need help and be unable to obtain it. The Oregon State Bar provides attorney referrals and has programs for those with limited ability to pay for legal advice. You can learn more about those programs here.

I am not looking for a lawyer. Can I come to you with legal questions? 

If you are an attorney seeking support for your case and your case involves an ACLU of Oregon issue area, you can reach out to our attorney(s). However, we do not answer general legal questions for the public.  

I need help changing my name and gender marker in Oregon. Can you assist me? 

We do not offer direct legal services like this. Please check out this guide from our partners at Basic Rights Oregon as a starting point.

CLEAR Clinic also offers this type of assistance independent of the ACLU of Oregon, and in some cases, may be able to offer financial assistance. To reach out to CLEAR for help, please fill out this form

You can also review the CLEAR Clinic self-help resources here.  

Please email for any further questions and accessibility needs.