Margaret Levy’s relationship with Community Partners in Action (CPA) goes back to the 1970’s. After earning her Juris Doctorate (JD) from the University of Connecticut in 1974, Margaret began working at the Connecticut Prison Association, the agency’s name prior to 1997.
Located within an office inside the Bridgeport jail at the Department of Correction‘s Bridgeport Correctional Center (BCC), she worked closely with the Public Defender’s Offices in Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Stamford to provide legal representation to people who were being held in prison on a pretrial basis. Much of the work focused on alternatives to money bail.
Margaret was part of what was then known as CPA’s Legal Assistance to Prisoners program, which was led by attorney James Greene, with the aim of making civil legal representation available to those incarcerated. The program was funded by the Federal Law Enforcement Assistant Administration. Later on, in May 1976, Governor Ella Grasso signed a law that guaranteed the State of Connecticut’s financial willingness to underwrite the Legal Assistance to Prisoners Program.
After her year in the Bridgeport office, Margaret transferred to the Connecticut Prison Association’s officesin Hartford. Thereafter, she went on to work for a State Consumer Advocacy Agency before moving into private practice where she focused on criminal defense law. Here she represented those accused of major felonies.
“There is a big difference between being accused versus convicted,” said Margaret. “Our State and federal Constitutions require proof beyond reasonable doubt that an individual is guilty, and everyone is entitled to fair legal representation.”
It is important to Margaret that others continue to help people who are accused or convicted of crimes by supporting Community Partners in Action, a human services nonprofit which continues its dedication to helping adults and youth in the criminal justice system in Connecticut. It is an organization that is founded on the belief that people can change, if given the right support.
Margaret formally retired from law practice in Connecticut in November 2022. She continues to support Community Partners in Action’s mission through her donations and presence at our events, like the most recent Celebrate Prison Arts 2023 fundraiser held at TheaterWorks Hartford.
She also volunteers at the Hartford Public Library helping people who immigrated to Connecticut to prepare for their naturalization exam.
Learn more about Community Partners in Action here.