Jane Kahn '77 Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The Jane Kahn '77 Undergraduate Research Fellowship supports undergraduates examining current and emerging issues in criminal justice reform and the rights of individuals with mental illness, disability, and socio-psychological factors frequently associated with incarceration.

Congratulations to the Summer 2022 Jane Kahn '77 Undergraduate Research Fellow!

Natalie Omori-Hoffe, '25
Major: Undeclared
Title: A Comparative Case Analysis of the Institutional Betrayal and Harms Between Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitals and Prisons
Faculty Mentor: Joanne Nicholson

The application for 2022-2023 academic year research will be posted when it's available.

This award honors the memory of Jane Kahn, a 1977 graduate of Brandeis University who dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of individuals incarcerated in California prison system. Jane, along with her husband Michael Bien ’77, spent almost two decades litigating a class action civil rights lawsuit on behalf of mentally ill inmates in California. That case, Coleman v. Schwarzenegger, argued that the treatment of mentally ill inmates in California prisons was constitutionally deficient due to extreme overcrowding and inhumane treatment. After prevailing in the lower court, the case made its way to the United States Supreme Court, which affirmed the decision and ordered the State of California to reduce its prison population by 30,000.

Jane and Michael were honored at Brandeis in 2011, and provided the Joshua A. Guberman Lecture entitled "Representing Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness Trapped in a Nightmare: The California Prison Overcrowding Case." It is in the spirit of this work, and Jane’s dedication to her clients, that this fellowship was established.

The Faculty Chair of the Legal Studies Program will evaluate submissions and select awardees.