Sheila Bedi

Director of Community Lawyering and Strategy

Clinical Professor of Law

Chicago, Illinois

sheila.bedi@law.northwestern.edu

(312) 503-2492

Areas of Focus

Sheila Bedi is the Director of Community Lawyering and Strategy and a Clinical Professor of Law at the Northwestern School of Law and an attorney with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center. Her work focuses on ending mass imprisonment and enforcing the rights of people caught up in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Previously, Bedi served as the deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center in New Orleans and Mississippi where she represented people who are imprisoned in federal class action litigation challenging abusive prison conditions and worked on community-based policy campaigns aimed at reducing incarceration rates, ensuring fairness in the administrative of justice, and improving access to public education and mental health services. Bedi worked with people who were formerly incarcerated and their families on hard fought campaigns that closed abusive prisons and jails, protected people who were imprisoned from sexual violence, improved access to counsel for poor defendants and people living behind bars, developed alternatives to imprisonment and reduced the number of children who are tried and convicted in the adult criminal justice system. Some of her honors include the Public Voices Fellowship, the Heroes for Children Award, the NAACP’s Vernon Dahmer Award, the NAACP’s Fannie Lou Hamer Award.

Featured Cases

Campbell v. City of Chicago

Abdication of Civil Rights Oversight

The MacArthur Justice Center formed a coalition of attorneys, community organizations and individuals to file a historic class action lawsuit seeking federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department's (CPD) operations on behalf of thousands of individuals, predominately Blacks and Latinx, who have been subjected to the CPD's policy and practice of using excessive force, sometimes in racially discriminatory and brutal ways.

Hampton v. Illinois Department of Corrections

Retaliation

Strawberry Hampton is a 27-year old transgender woman currently incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections. Ms. Hampton has spent her entire sentence in men’s prisons, where she has survived numerous sexual assaults and received constant harassment and threats. IDOC officials have consistently refused to acknowledge Ms. Hampton’s gender and have repeatedly and deliberately placed her in environments detrimental to her physical, mental and emotional health.

Morales v. Monreal

Parole Revocation

In 2013, the MacArthur Justice Center and the Uptown People’s Law Center filed a class action lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board targeting the state’s parole revocation process for adults. A settlement was reached in October 2016 that required Illinois to provide state-funded attorneys and adequate hearings to eligible parolees accused of violating parole. MacArthur, Uptown and an Independent Monitor are currently monitoring the State’s compliance with that agreement.