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The Stanford Criminal Justice Center (SCJC) serves as Stanford's vehicle for promoting and coordinating the study of criminal law and the criminal justice system, including legal and interdisciplinary research, policy analysis, curriculum development, and preparation of law students for careers in criminal law. The center is headed by faculty co-directors Robert Weisberg and Joan Petersilia and executive director Debbie Mukamal. 

SCJC's areas of interest include criminal trial practice and procedure, institutional examination of the police and correctional systems, social science study of the origins of criminal behavior and methods of punishment, and criminal legislation and enforcement in areas ranging from drug crimes to federal white collar crimes.

One major goal of the center is to encourage collaborative criminal justice policy development at the national, state, regional, and local levels by: promoting public/private partnerships between different levels of government 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 public officials at all levels of government.

The center brings legal scholars together with social science experts, government officials, nonprofit leaders, and criminal justice practitioners in the form of conferences, academic symposia, policy forums and strategic roundtables addressing pragmatic issues of criminal justice reform.

Collaboration within the law school's faculty helps promote multi-student empirical research projects and co-authorship with professors. Reaching beyond SLS, law faculty and students in the program work with other units at Stanford whose work bears on criminal justice issues, including the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS).

SCJC works closely with the law students’ Criminal Law Society to present the Stanford Criminal Law and Justice Speaker Series – a series of quarterly presentations by eminent academics and practitioners in criminal law and criminal justice.

In alliance with the Clinical Education Program and Public Interest Program at Stanford Law School, SCJC supervises and places students in outstanding externships in prosecution and defense agencies, advises students on a range of criminal law career opportunities, and provides students with the resources they need to move successfully into careers in the fields of criminal law and criminal justice policy.