Mitchell Hamline Accepts Incarcerated Person To Law Program

14 June 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When classes begin at Mitchell Hamline School of Law this fall, the incoming class will include Maureen Onyelobi, who is currently incarcerated.

Onyelobi will be the first incarcerated person to ever enroll in an American Bar Association-approved law school in the U.S., according to a release from Mitchell Hamline.

The law school made the announcement on Monday, saying that the school intends to enroll more incarcerated people in the coming years.

Onyelobi learned she was accepted on June 9 when the President of Mitchell Hamline, Anthony Niedwiecki, visited her at Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee to share the news. The school says her tuition will be paid by private fundraising and scholarship assistance.

Maureen Onyelobi (credit: Mitchell Hamline School of Law)

Onyelobi will attend classes entirely online. This comes after the American Bar Association granted Hamline permission to allow qualified incarcerated people to enroll in its law program. The school also says they are now able to admit up to two incarcerated students each year.

Hamline says the effort is almost three years in the making. The university collaborated with the Legal Revolution, a nonprofit that aims to educate incarcerated people across Minnesota.

According to state records, Onyelobi was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder in 2014. She was sentenced to life in prison and could serve up to 40 years in prison.

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