2024 Overuse of Imprisonment Scholarship

As experienced criminal defense attorneys, Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd. recognizes the critical need for reform of the American justice system. Despite its capabilities, the system is flawed by over-incarceration. The number of imprisoned Americans has grown by 500% since the 1970s, despite the number of violent crimes generally occurring at the same rate and far outpacing US population growth. These trends prompt us to address critical questions about the fairness and effectiveness of our prison system.

We want to be part of the change and encourage others to do the same. For this scholarship, we invite applicants to dive into the modern-day prison system in America and compare it to decades prior. Participants are encouraged to explore possible avenues for creating a fairer and more just prison system. Is this incarceration rate sustainable? Is the current system reformative? What can we do to combat this overuse of imprisonment in our legal system?

Award Amount: $1000


  • This scholarship opportunity is available to current high school seniors, vocational students, college students, and graduate students who are legal United States residents residing in any of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a vocational program or a two to four-year post-secondary institution for the Spring 2025 or Fall 2026 semesters.
  • Individuals who are employees of Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Offices Chtd., as well as their immediate families (including parents, children, siblings, and spouses), and those residing in the same households, whether related or not, are ineligible to participate.
  • Candidates must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate good overall academic standing.

Application Requirements

  • The candidate must fill out the form below with all necessary information
  • The candidate must submit a 750-1000 word essay response to the prompt: How can the United States create a fairer justice system and address the pervasive issue of over-incarceration?
  • Please note that all essays will be checked for AI writing. If AI writing is deemed present in the essay, the application will be denied.
  • The candidate is required to provide a comprehensive resume detailing both their professional and academic experiences.
  • The candidate must submit a transcript from their current educational institution. First-year college students, graduate students, or recent school transfers may submit an unofficial transcript from their current institution and the most recent official transcript from their previous school.
  • High school applicants must also include proof of acceptance to their college or university.
  • Preference may be given to students either from or attending secondary school in Minnesota.

The deadline to apply is March 31st, 2025. The recipient of the Overuse of Imprisonment Scholarship will be chosen during the month following the scholarship deadline. Please send any scholarship questions to mankato@khmnlaw.com with the subject line “[Overuse of Imprisonment Scholarship].”

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