Alvin Bronstein, lawyer & prisoner rights activist, Died at 87

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Alvin J. Bronstein was born on June 8, 1928, and died on October 24, 2015 from Alzheimer’s disease

Alvin was an American lawyer, and founder and Director Emeritus of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation.

According to his ACLU biography, ‘he has argued numerous prisoners’ rights cases in federal trial and appellate courts as well as the Supreme Court of the United States.

Alvin was a consultant to state and federal correctional agencies, has appeared as an expert witness on numerous occasions and has edited or authored books and articles on human rights and corrections.’

Alvin’s Russian Jewish family had moved to the United States to seek refuge from the Nazis.

He was born in Brooklyn to Louis and Lillian (née Spielman) Bronstein, who both worked in sales.

Alvin attended Erasmus Hall High School, then the City College of New York before graduating from New York Law School with an LL.B.

He began his career working in the American South during the Civil Rights Movement, becoming the Chief Staff Counsel of the Lawyers’ Constitutional Defense Committee from 1964 to 1968 in Jackson, Mississippi.

Alvin litigated civil rights cases during that time in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, and represented the major civil rights organizations in the South.

He was a Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, from 1969 to 1971.

Alvin was Pace Law School’s Practitioner-in-Residence in 2009.

He served as the director of the National Prison Project from 1972 until 1995.

During this time, he argued three cases in the United States Supreme Court, Hudson v. McMillan (1992), Block v. Rutherford (1984), and Montanye v. Haynes (1976).

Since his departure from the National Prison Project, he has been a consultant for the ACLU.

Alvin also served as a board member of Penal Reform International (London) and a member of the Assembly of Delegates for the World Organization Against Torture (Geneva).

Alvin died of Alzheimer’s disease in October 24, 2015, he was 87.

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