Stanford Criminal Justice Center (SCJC)
The Stanford Criminal Justice Center serves as a research and policy institute on matters related to the criminal justice system. Our efforts are geared both towards providing public policy and research expertise to the public sector, as well as providing pedagogical opportunities to Stanford Law School students with academic or career interests in criminal justice. The SCJC is currently working on the following research and policy initiatives
Evaluating the Impacts of California’s Criminal Justice Realignment: The Stanford Criminal Justice Center is undertaking a number of research projects aimed at better understanding the implementation and effect of California’s Public Safety Realignment legislation. In particular, through four research projects, we are analyzing the extent to which California’s move to downsize state prisons through Public Safety Realignment legislation has changed the decision-making and resource allocation of the primary actors in the criminal justice system. See California Realignment page for additional information on our research portfolio in this area.
Life in Limbo – An Examination of Parole Release for Prisoners Serving Life Sentences in California: The SCJC is in the midst of a major comprehensive analysis of the lifer population in California. The impetus for this study is both the significant nature of the population and major legal and policy changes that have occurred to the parole process for lifers in recent years. In particular, more than 32,000 individuals are serving life sentences with the possibility of parole in California, a growth in the overall prison population from eight percent in 1990 to 20 percent in 2010. Our research includes a thorough analysis of 750 Board of Parole Hearings transcripts from 2007–2010 to identify factors and circumstances that correlate with parole grant decisions. In addition, we are conducting qualitative interviews with commissioners responsible for making parole release decisions to better understand how they approach their work. The first of our reports on this complex – and yet to be examined – topic was issued in Fall 2011 and includes a description of the scope of the population, the process by which they are considered for release onto parole, and initial analysis from our transcript research.
The report is available here.
Professor Petersilia's Fall 2012 Advanced Criminal Law & Public Policy Practicum produced two new papers on the lifer parole process:
Parole Board Enhancements and the Use of Base Term Enhancements by Eric Dunn and Michael Ruiz (2013)
Rebutting the Presumption: An Empirical Analysis of Parole Deferrals under Marsy's Law by David Friedman and Jackie Robinson (forthcoming Stanford Law Review, Volume 66)
Project ReMade – Promoting Entrepreneurship among Formerly Incarcerated People: We sponsor a pro bono project that seeks to promote the reentry of formerly incarcerated people through the fostering of entrepreneurship skills and training. Stanford Law School students teach a 12-week course to Project ReMADE participants covering a range of relevant business topics. In addition, each participant is paired with a mentor team comprised of Stanford Law School and Graduate School of Business students and community business executives to help them develop their individualized business plans.
San Quentin Prison Workshop: The SCJC continues to support the efforts of the Stanford Prison Forum that is organizing (for the second year) a 10–week academic workshop for Stanford University graduate students and Prison University Project students at San Quentin prison. The theme of the 2013 course is "Democracy and Incarceration."
Parallel Justice: We have launched a new pro bono project that provides education and application assistance for available state compensation benefits to crime victims in East Palo Alto. In addition, we are developing a community resource bank of donated goods and services to benefit crime victims.