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The Stanford Criminal Justice Center is frequently asked to provide legal analysis for various government and non-profit entities on a broad range of topics related to criminal law and criminal justice policy. Our goal in this endeavor is to offer the best possible legal analysis of the subjects we're asked to comment on, and to remain neutral regarding any related political issues. Please feel free to review some of the reports that we've developed here.

Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

Faculty Co-Director Robert Weisberg taught a new seminar in Fall 2011 which took a research and policy approach to examining the experience of veterans in the criminal justice system, including identifying the nature and demographics of the population; the unique challenges they face while incarcerated and when returning home from prison/jail; and promising approaches to addressing their involvement in the criminal justice system such as veteran treatment courts. The course produced a number of student papers covering yet-to-be-examined topics:

Police Use of Tasers

Adult Probation

Parolee Housing

The Stanford Executive Sessions on Sentencing and Corrections

The Stanford Executive Sessions on Sentencing and Corrections is an innovative form of policy working group designed to bring together the key public, academic, and organizational leaders in the field of criminal justice policy in a spirit of cooperative movement toward reform of the sentencing and corrections systems, as well as the criminal justice system as a whole, in California. During the 2007 phase of the Executive Sessions we held a series of theoretical and analytical discussions on four topics pertinent to state sentencing and corrections policy generally: the possibility of creating a sentencing commission for the state of California, the history of state-local partnerships in the field of sentencing and corrections, the role of the judiciary in developing sentencing policy, and data integration in the state-wide criminal justice system. For the 2008 phase of the Executive Sessions, we have narrowed our focus to center on ways in which information exchanges in criminal justice at the county level can inform public policy. Specifically, our mission in the 2008 Executive Sessions is to encourage collaborative criminal justice policy development by: promoting public/private partnerships with state, county, and municipal governments in the criminal justice arena; creating opportunities for the use of social science research to aid in the development and implementation of empirically-validated, data-driven criminal justice programs and policies; and serving as a public service consultant to the State of California and its fifty-eight counties.

Partnership with the Little Hoover Commission's study on Sentencing Reform

The Stanford Criminal Justice Center is partnering with the Little Hoover Commission on its Sentencing Reform study, which represents a complete review of the opportunities for sentencing reform in California within the broader context of the State's correctional policies.  As part of this study, the Commission will assess the role of sentencing reform as an element of overall correctional system reform including parole and prison reforms, and the importance of a "holistic" approach to reform policy.  The Criminal Justice Center's Executive Director testified before the Commission at its public hearing on August 24, 2006. View a copy of the report     submitted in preparation for that hearing. The Criminal Justice Center is currently preparing a report for the Commission on the history of amendments to California's sentencing system.

California Sentencing & Corrections Policy Series


Dr. Joan Petersilia, a Visiting Professor of Law, taught a Stanford Law School class entitled, "Crime and Punishment Policy: Reforming California Corrections" during the fall semester 2005. This course offered students a unique opportunity to learn about California's historic attempt to reform its juvenile and adult corrections system. The students heard from many speakers, including the Director of Corrections, the Director of Juvenile Justice, ex-convicts, victims, families of prisoners, advocacy groups, and other researchers. Each student was required to choose a research topic for their term papers. Some of these student term papers, along with Dr. Petersilia course syllabus, have been placed on Stanford's Criminal Justice Center website in the hopes that they may be useful in the reform efforts.

Criminal Sentencing

Adult Prisons