Ms. Brenda V. Smith

Washington, District of Columbia
United States

Focus Areas

Social Justice
Gender Issues


Brenda V. Smith is a professor at the Washington College of Law at American University where she teaches in the Community Economic Development Law Clinic. Professor Smith is also the Project Director for the United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections Cooperative Agreement on Addressing Prison Rape. In November 2003, Professor Smith was appointed to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission by the United States House of Representatives Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.). Prior to her faculty appointment at the Washington College of Law, Professor Smith was the Senior Counsel for Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center and Director of the Center’s Women in Prison Project and Child and Family Support Project. Professor Smith is a 1984 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a magna cum laude graduate of Spelman College in 1980. Professor Smith is an expert on issues affecting women in prison, and has published and spoken widely on those issues. Publications include Rethinking Prison Sex: Self -Expression and Safety, 15 Colum. J. Gender & L. 185 (2006); Sexual Abuse of Women in Prison: A Modern Corollary of Slavery, 33 Fordham Urb. L. J. 571 (2006); Battering, Forgiveness and Redemption: Exploring Alternative Models for Addressing Domestic Violence in Communities of Color, in Domestic Violence at the Margins: Readings on Race, Class, Gender, and Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2004); Watching You, Watching Me, 15 Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 225 ( 2003); Battering, Forgiveness and Redemption, 11 American University Journal of Gender Social Policy and the Law 921, Volume 2 (2003); An End to Silence: Prisoners’ Handbook on Identifying and Addressing Sexual Misconduct, (2d ed., Washington College of Law, 2002); and Sexual Abuse Against Women in Prison, American Bar Association Criminal Justice Magazine, Vol. 16. No. 1, Spring, 2001. Professor Smith has received numerous honors, including the prestigious Kellogg National Fellowship in 1993. She was inducted into the D.C. Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998 for her work on behalf of low-income women in the District of Columbia. Most recently, Professor Smith was awarded the Emalee C. Godsey Research Award for her article, Battering, Forgiveness and Redemption.