Melissa Hamblin

Staff Attorney, JR Institutions & Reentry Program

I was born and raised right here in Seattle.  As a kid, I was a heavy reader and constant daydreamer. As a teenager, I was defiant and unhappy. In school I generally enjoyed learning things, but life frequently got in the way of academics and my actual performance was often pretty poor.  As I got older my behavior got worse and the consequences became more serious. I was eventually incarcerated at nineteen.

Unsurprisingly, jail did not “fix” me, but my connection to the women locked up alongside me and my rage at the system that had brought us together ultimately created a directed focus in my life. I spent college studying institutional racism and mass incarceration while volunteering at Books to Prisoners and the Sustainability in Prisons Project, and afterwards worked as a program coordinator and educator at a county jail.

I got my J.D. at the University of Washington where I focused on criminal law and civil rights. While there, I interned in felony, Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA), and tribal public defense offices, as well as with Disability Rights Washington in their Amplifying Voices for Inmates with Disabilities project. I assisted with juvenile sex offender registry removal here at TeamChild and volunteered at adult record sealing clinics. I also worked at as a direct service provider at a low barrier homeless shelter.

I feel so lucky to be here now at TeamChild, doing exactly what I love the most – advocating directly for incarcerated youth.  To be able to do this work truly is a privilege, one I am so grateful to do alongside the rest of this amazing staff.

When not at work, I am usually reading sci-fi, cooking something spicy, or getting yelled at by cats.

CALL US TeamChild staff are working remotely and can be reached by e-mail and phone.