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WVU College of Law student wins national legal writing award

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Jaden Rhea
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Jaden Rhea, a third-year student at West Virginia University College of Law, is a winner of the 2018 Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award for Law Schools.

Rhea is one of just 15 law students from across the country to receive the award. She will be honored with the other recipients at a black tie dinner at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, on May 21.

Rhea won for her article, “Highway to Hell: The Privatized Prison Transportation Industry and the Long Road to Reform,” which was published in the fall 2017 edition of the West Virginia Law Review

In her article, Rhea argues that under-enforced federal regulations in the privatized prison transportation industry are allowing the mistreatment of inmates when they are moved between facilities.  She writes that prisoners are often physically abused during transport and left in overcrowded vans for extended periods of time with limited access to food, water, or restrooms. 

“I chose this topic to shed light on an issue within the prison system that is often overlooked, and I hope this recognition will lead to more thought and awareness surrounding problems in the prison transport industry,” said Rhea.

Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Awards are given to recipients who write law articles that demonstrate “creativity, knowledge, and know-how.” Winners display exemplary writing skills and a mastery of the law and their chosen subject matter.

The Burton Awards is a national program of the Burton Foundation, a nonprofit academic and educational organization focused on major legal accomplishments. It was established to reward effective legal writing and encourage excellence in the legal profession.



CONTACT: James Jolly, College of Law ; 304.293.7439

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