Alyssa Gordon


Alyssa K. Gordon is a 2022 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, and is honored to be an incoming Borchard Fellow hosted by the ACLU National Prison Project. Alyssa serves as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Victoria A. Roberts of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

At Texas Law, Alyssa co-founded and served as Co-Executive Director of Law Students for Black Lives, a student organization turned nonprofit that works to center Black voices and eradicate institutional racism in law schools and America’s legal system at large. She also served as a staff editor of The Review of Litigation, membership director for the Southwest Region of the National Black Law Students Association, parliamentarian of the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society, and board member of the William Wayne Justice Center Student Advisory Board. Alyssa worked as a racial equity research fellow for the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, where she helped draft statewide legislation to preserve African American cultural and historical resources in Texas. She also served as a student attorney with the Civil Rights Clinic, where she represented low-income clients in civil rights litigation related to incarcerated people’s rights and abusive law enforcement practices.

While in law school, Alyssa dedicated much of her time to developing her skills as an advocate for elderly incarcerated people. She interned at the ACLU of the District of Columbia, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Southern Center for Human Rights, and the Habeas Corpus Resource Center. At each of these organizations, she advocated for the civil rights of older clients behind bars, who were often particularly vulnerable to compounded abuse given their incarcerated status and old age.

As a 2023-25 Borchard Fellow at the ACLU National Prison Project, Alyssa will focus on harnessing underutilized compassionate release laws to help elderly incarcerated people secure early release and better promote decarceration efforts nationwide. She will work to reverse the laws that give the U.S. the highest incarceration rate in the world utilizing an “integrated advocacy” approach, which includes: 1) class action litigation in the Ninth Circuit to better protect the rights of incarcerated elderly people and people with disabilities; 2) policy development and bill drafting in Arizona to help pass the state’s first compassionate release law; 3) community organizing; and 4) research and public education initiatives in collaboration with the ACLU’s communications team highlighting unconstitutional prison conditions across the nation. Alyssa’s priorities will also include improving prison health care, eliminating violence and maltreatment, and increasing oversight and accountability in places of detention in America.

Alyssa fundamentally believes that, in the words of Mariame Kaba, we must fight to create a world where human disposability is unimaginable. She is excited to get to work.