Area of Expertise
Sexual violence in correctional settings, sexual violence, criminal law, offender rights, criminal justice, women's rights, community and economic development, nonprofit organizations, legal ethics
Brenda V. Smith is a professor at the Washington College of Law where she co-teaches in the Community Economic Development Law Clinic. She is also the director for the project addressing prison rape funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Corrections, the Bureau of Justice Assistance in partnership with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and a private nonprofit. In November 2003, Smith was appointed to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission by then-U.S. House of Representatives minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Prior to her faculty appointment at the Washington College of Law, Smith was the senior counsel for economic security at the National Women's Law Center and director of the center's Women in Prison Project and Child and Family Support Project. Smith is a 1984 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a magna cum laude graduate of Spelman College in 1980. Smith has expertise on issues affecting women in prison and has published and spoken widely on those issues. Publications include Breaking the Code of Silence: Correctional Officers Handbook on Identifying and Addressing Sexual Misconduct (American University, 2009); Legal Responses to Sexual Violence in Custody: State Criminal Laws Prohibiting Sexual Abuse of Individuals under Custodial Supervision, (American University, 2009); The Prison Rape Elimination Act: Implementation and Unresolved Issues,Amer. Univ. Crim. L. Brf. 10 (Spring 2008); Sexual Abuse of Women in United States Prisons: A Modern Corollary of Slavery, 33 Fordham Urb. L.J. 571 (2006); Rethinking Prison Sex: Self Expression and Safety, 15 Col. J. Gen, & L. 185 (2006) 234; Battering, Forgiveness and Redemption: Exploring Alternative Models for Addressing Domestic Violence in Communities of Color, in Domestic Violence at the Margins: Readings on Race, Class, Gender, and Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2004); Watching You, Watching Me, 15 Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 225 ( 2003); An End to Silence: Prisoners’ Handbook on Identifying and Addressing Sexual Misconduct, (2d ed., Washington College of Law, 2002). Smith has received numerous honors, including the prestigious Kellogg National Fellowship in 1993, induction into the D.C. Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998, and most recently the Emalee C. Godsey Research Award for her article, Battering, Forgiveness and Redemption.