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Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

ACES Practicum

There are two parts to the ACES program: the academic course and the practicum, the accompanying clinical program. Coursework supports the goals of the practicum.

In the semester-long course students receive training from experienced professionals in each area of their work, such as substance abuse, mental illness, interviewing, advocacy, and professional writing. Students explore the major issues in reintegrating offenders through lectures, training videos, and seminar sessions. Meets once a week on Tuesdays between 8:10-10:40 PM.

In the practicum students work closely with officials in community agencies in identifying defendant, offender or juvenile needs and assessing their adjustment progress. Students identify community resources to meet those needs and work with individuals to assist them with referrals and advocate for needed services and programs.

The practicum requires 15 hours of work per week for three credits, or 21 to24 hours of work for a six credit course. [A limited number of one-credit practica are available for eight hours of work per week.]

Students may earn three to nine credits for the semester.

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Organizations that partner with ACES

  • United States Probation Office for the District of Columbia
  • United States Probation Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (Northern Virginia)
  • Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (federal  agency)
  • District of Columbia Juvenile Court
  • Argus House (juvenile impatient facility )
  • DC Public Defender’s Service
  • Montgomery County Pre-Release Center
  • DC Pre-Trial Service Agency
  • Alexandria Juvenile Probation and Parole
  • Private criminal defense attorney
  • Second Genesis (inpatient drug program)
  • Female halfway house

Selected ACES Practica

  • A student trained the staff and offenders of a halfway house to research employment opportunities on the internet. The student also created a manual to assist future offenders.
  • A Spanish-speaking student, working with a probation officer assigned to Spanish-speaking offenders on probation for domestic violence, created and distributed Spanish language materials about US laws for the victims of domestic violence, many of whom were unaware of their legal rights.
  • A student fluent in sign language helped a public defenders office communicate with a deaf individual appealing a life sentence.
  • Two students working at the mental health division of a public defenders office researched community-based agencies and support services needed to assist clients, and created a directory of resources for use by the office’s staff.
  • A student improved the cold, uncomfortable room where defenders were interviewed in order to make the space more conducive to successful interviewing.