Community outreach and policymaking

          The Institute is dedicated to promoting a productive and rational conversation about the state of the criminal justice system in California and the nation.  In pursuing that goal, the Institute sponsors and organizes panel discussions, conferences and other education-oriented events.  For example, in 2009, the criminal law faculty organized a major conference that examined some of the shortcomings of California’s prison system.  Entitled the California Correctional Crisis Conference, the event brought together major figures in the debate over California’s prison system and was attended by over 200 people.  On March 21st & 22nd, 2013, the Institute sponsored a follow-up conference, California Correctional Crisis: Realignment and Reform.   Leading experts -- including Mark Leno, Jeanne Woodford, and Wendy Still -- discussed the state of the prison system after Realignment.  In addition to conference-related events, the Institute plans to sponsor smaller brown-bag talks and panel discussions, many open to the public. 

          Apart from these events, Institute Directors have initiated several programs to educate the public, members of the Bar, and public officials pertaining recent criminal justice developments. Our recent program, Criminal Litigation Ethics: Prosecution and Defense, organized by Rory Little, a nationally-recognized expert in prosecutorial ethics, provided attendees with deep knowledge and perspectives on ethical dilemmas frequently encountered by criminal practitioners.

          We serve the legal and policymaking community through publications as well. Aaron Rappaport is a co-editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, and Rory Little offers the Annual Review of the Supreme Court's Term, Criminal Cases for the ABA Criminal Justice Section. Kate Bloch was a member of the Judicial Council Task Force on Jury Instructions.

          HICJ strives to make criminal justice knowledge available to the public in an accessible, informative form. Since 2008 we have offered news and opinions about the correctional system in California through Professor Hadar Aviram's California Correctional Crisis blog. Rory little frequently contributes to SCOTUSBlog.

          The Institute is also committed to promoting student involvement through community service  and other related programs.   For example, students have taken a leading role in the “clean slate” program run by GAAP (the General Assistance Advocacy Program).  That program helps marginally housed members of San Francisco’s Tenderloin community clear their records so they can become eligible for public benefits.  Hastings has also initiated a Community Law Program, which sends students to teach law and law-related topics in high schools and local jails.  During the past semester, the program placed 27 students teaching in five high schools in the Bay area, and at San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno.