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Dignity Rights Clinic

The Dignity Rights Clinic (DRC) is the first law school clinic in the world dedicated to advancing the principle of human dignity under law in the US and throughout the world. The Clinic helps shape the law’s commitment to the protection and promotion of the inherent, inalienable, and equal worth of every person, everywhere.

Dignity rights are the legal rights that flow from the recognition of the equal worth of every "member of the human family."

For three years, the Dignity Rights Clinic has been devoted to the reform of the criminal legal system in the United States to help ensure that the dignity of every person is respected.

This work has culminated in Dignity In the Criminal Legal System (pdf), a book developed by students that maps the legal landscape – from initial encounters with police through sentencing, incarceration, and post-release – to see where dignity might find a home. It is available for free and we welcome broad distribution.

We partner with the ACLU of Delaware, to support litigation efforts aimed at improving the conditions of incarceration in Delaware. In 2022, our work contributed to a ruling in Davis v. Neal, recognizing that “Dignity, or respect of our fellow human beings, is an important principle underlying many constitutional rights. Because of this, the Supreme Court has routinely discussed dignity in cases where plaintiffs seek to vindicate those rights.”

Recently, we have focused on our work on solitary confinement.

In 2019, the American Bar Association resolved that dignity rights are the “foundation of a just rule of law” and established a Dignity Rights Initiative, as a result of work done by the faculty and students in the Dignity Rights program.

Contact Information

Director: Professor Erin Daly
Phone: 302-477-2143
Email: [email protected]