May 2011 Volunteer Feature: O'Melveny & Myers Authors Detainee Health Manual
HIV Law Project recognizes the outstanding work of O'Melveny & Myers LLP in researching and authoring a comprehensive guide to immigrant detainees' medical rights, as well as a "Know Your Medical Rights" brochure for detained immigrants.
Immigrants detained by the Department of Homeland Security are routinely held in New York State prison facilities. Detainees in these facilities who are living with HIV/AIDS are routinely denied adequate and appropriate medical care. This poor quality of care may be owing, at least in part, to confusion among facility staff as to which medical standards apply. HIV Law Project set out to clarify governing standards through its publication of the HIV medical standards manual for facility staff. At the same time, essential information was distilled into a Know Your Rights pamphlet for detainees.
O'Melveny Associate Janna Rearick took on the project single-handedly. In our first meeting with Janna she asked probing and insightful questions, demonstrating her attention to and understanding of the issues at play, the politics at stake, and the populations affected. From that point forward, her work was marked by her thoughtful approach, responsiveness, and commitment to the project. Over the course of a dynamic exchange of ideas and drafts that lasted more than six months, Janna produced two documents of exceptionally high quality.
HIV Law Project is preparing the document for publication, but has already heard from detainee advocates that the documents will serve a much-needed purpose. HIV Law Project is extremely grateful for volunteer lawyers like Janna, and the commitment of firms like O'Melveny, who are dedicated to the rights of the most marginalized individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
HIV Law Project is the only free standing legal office in New York City that provides legal services and advocacy exclusively on behalf of marginalized and disenfranchised New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. HIV Law Project believes that all people deserve the same rights, including the right to live with dignity and respect, the right to be treated as equal members of society, and the right to have their basic human needs fulfilled. These fundamental rights are elusive for many people living with HIV/AIDS. Through innovative legal services and advocacy programs, HIV Law Project fights for the rights of the most underserved people living with HIV/AIDS.