Progressive Prosecution & Criminal Justice Reform (LAW 808E)

This policy lab has two research tracks, both involving design and implementation of real-time criminal justice reform in California.

The first project supports Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, who was recently elected on a “progressive prosecutor” platform to run the county’s largest prosecution office. Students will assist the DA’s office in designing and developing a Resentencing Unit within the office to revisit old sentences imposed under prior DA administrations that are longer than those called for under DA Gascon’s current practices. The office estimates that up to 20,000 people may qualify for resentencing consideration by the Resentencing Unit. Students will help develop systems to identify and prioritize people who are currently incarcerated and who may qualify for resentencing consideration. Students will work in small teams to research individual cases and draft memoranda for the DA’s office.

The second project supports the California Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code, which is a new state organization tasked with studying California’s criminal law and making reform recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. The Committee will hold six public meetings this year on subjects including the death penalty, life without parole, Three Strikes, juvenile justice, and mental health. Students will work closely with Committee members and staff to help set specific agenda for the public meetings. The work product includes research and reform recommendation memoranda.

Course Catalog


Clients & Deliverables

ClientsLos Angeles District Attorney’s OfficeCalifornia Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code

Deliverables: client memoranda; client briefings