PLS ITHACA OFFICE
PLS ITHACA OFFICE
114 Prospect St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
Betsy Hutchings, Deputy Director and Managing Attorney. Betsy has been the managing attorney of the Ithaca Office of Prisoners’ Legal Services since 2004. As of October 1, 2017, Ms. Hutchings became PLS' Deputy Director. Ms. Hutchings is a graduate of Hampshire College and Rutgers Camden School of Law. She began her career in legal services as an attorney for Appalachian Research and Defense Fund in Kentucky and the North Central West Virginia Legal Aid Society. In 1984, Ms. Hutchings joined the Ithaca Office of Prisoners’ Legal Services. Between 1998 and 2004, Ms. Hutchings worked for the Criminal Appeals Bureau of The Legal Aid Society.
Aleta Albert, Director of Advocacy. Aleta has worked at Prisoners’ Legal Services since 1985. She has held a number of positions since beginning her employment and is currently the Director of Advocacy. She processes and responds to intake letters from inmates. She handles production and copy editing for Pro Se and Essentials of Life as well as maintaining the mailing lists for both newsletters. She also works on the production and layout of the PLS form memos and performs a variety of other office functions
Elizabeth Banks, Legal Secretary. Liz joined Prisoner’s Legal Services on February 22, 2016 as a legal secretary, providing the Ithaca attorneys with administrative assistance. She came to PLS from Heritage Park Apartments, in Elmira, NY, where she was the Assistant Youth Project Director for The Heritage Park Apartments Resource Center. Prior to that position, she worked from 1991 to 2008, as a Legal Secretary for a New York City law firm specializing in construction law.
Alissa Hull, Supervising Attorney. Alissa received her JD from CUNY in 2010. Before attending law school, she co-founded and volunteered with the Young Women’s Empowerment Project in Chicago, a youth-run harm reduction program for youth in the sex trade and street economies. She has participated in a wide-variety of clinics and internships in the area of prisoner’s rights, including the National Lawyers Guild’s Prison Law Project, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Southern Poverty Law Center’s School to Prison Reform Project, the Prisoner’s Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society, and CUNY’s Criminal Defense Clinic. She was a contributor and researcher for the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook, 5th Edition, published by the National Lawyers Guild and CCR. Upon graduation, she worked as a criminal defense attorney for indigent clients. Prior to joining PLS, she was a staff attorney with the Human Rights Defense Center (aka Prison Legal News), where she worked primarily on First Amendment claims against jails and prisons.
Hallie Mitnick, Staff Attorney. Hallie joined PLS in September of 2015 after graduating from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in June of 2015. While at Cardozo, Hallie participated in the Innocence Project clinic as well as the Civil Rights Clinic. She was also a Public Service Scholar and Dean’s Merit Scholar. She was a recipient of the Cardozo Center for Public Service Law’s INSPIRE! Award, which recognizes extraordinary commitment to public service law, in January 2015, and the Cardozo Service and Achievement Award, which is given annually to graduating students for achievement and outstanding service to the law school, in June 2015. Her note “Estelle v. Gamble in a Post-Affordable Care Act World” was published by the Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal in summer 2015. Hallie also was a Charles H. Revson Law Student Public Interest Fellow at the Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Practice’s Special Litigation Unit during the summer of 2014. At Legal Aid, Hallie worked on solitary confinement appeals for Rikers Island inmates as well as impact litigation concerning Rikers Island. While an undergraduate at Cornell University, Hallie was a teaching assistant in the Cornell Prison Education Program at Auburn Correctional Facility.
Megan Welch, Staff Attorney. Megan is a returning Central New Yorker who received her J.D. in 2018 from CUNY School of Law. She comes to PLS with several years of experience as an 8th and 9th grade science teacher, and received her Master of Education in Science Education from Brooklyn College in 2014, and B.A. from Ithaca College in 2009. During law school, she was a Judicial Intern with Hon. Lois Bloom in the USDC Eastern District and had a number of internships focusing on urban environmental justice, including legal policy research for Lloyd Patel, LLP, on drug overdose health issues, and authored recommendations on environmental legislation for the Office of NYC Councilmember Costa Constantinides. She also interned with Queens Legal Services, preparing and attending school suspension hearings and conducting intake for students whose rights had been violated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Her work as an AmeriCorps Volunteer after undergraduate school took her to Alaska and Maine, focusing on restorative justice and at-risk youth.