In this series, the Summer 2016 interns reflect upon their experience working with CIC.
When asked what I did over the summer I can truly say I had the best internship ever. Interning for the Chicago Innocence Center was one of the best decisions I have ever made. This semester I changed my major officially from biology to sociology. When I made this change I had no clue what I wanted to do with this major I just knew I liked social justice issues and I liked being an active member in whatever community I was a part of. One boring college night I decided to watch a documentary on Netflix on the life prisoners in a Mississippi jail. One of the prisoners was trying to file an appeal in order to be released. The evidence he presented seemed to justify his claim of innocence in my opinion so when his appeal was denied without his evidence even being considered, that’s when I got upset. After talking to mom about this documentary she told me about Pam Cytrynbaum
who works for the Chicago Innocence Center. Over winter break we met and I secured an internship. The first day of my internship I knew I would love it. It was extremely hands on and everyone had a necessary role. We were working as a team who respected everything and anything someone said. When working on the case my sense of freedom changed completely. I thought freedom meant the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want. After reading letters, discussing the case and witnessing exonerations I now believe freedom is something that cannot be achieved without being mentally, emotionally and physically open. Hearing exonerees say that they felt mentally trapped while incarcerated was heart breaking. Interning at CIC enabled me to decide that I wanted to practice criminal law and make a change within the justice system.
Victoria Rudd is a rising junior at the University of Missouri. She is majoring in Sociology. To learn more about the CIC interns, click here.