Justice Advocacy Project

The Stanford Justice Advocacy Project (formerly the Three Strikes Project) represents inmates serving unjust prison sentences for minor crimes, assists released prisoners successfully reentering their communities, and advocates for fairer and more effective criminal justice policies in California and across the country.

Experiential Learning


The Project is staffed in large part by law students. Students may apply for enrollment in a seminar that covers the history of criminal sentencing policy in California, advanced criminal procedure and post-conviction litigation strategies. Participating students are involved in all aspects of the Project’s work, including building and maintaining relationships with our clients in prison and drafting court pleadings on their behalf. Students also help analyze, propose, advocate for, and implement long-term reforms.

Litigation & Reentry

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We represent inmates serving unnecessary and unjust sentences in state and federal prisons. We have won the release of over 100 clients serving life sentences, most of whom convicted of nonviolent crimes and sentenced under “Three Strikes and You’re Out” laws. We are also actively involved in prisoners’ lives once they are released from custody, helping provide services and programs that assist the process of returning home and reentering communities.

Policy Analysis & Reform

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We study and work to improve criminal laws and policies to advance a fairer and more effective justice system in California and across the country. We partner with officials at all levels of state and federal governments and have led successful legislative reform campaigns, including statewide ballot measures in California resulting in the release of thousands of unjustly incarcerated inmates. We study what works (and doesn’t work) in the criminal justice system and advocate for a broad array of reforms, including sentencing reforms, improved treatment of mentally ill offenders, and better services for former prisoners reentering their communities.

Publications and Reports

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The Prevalence and Severity of Mental Illness Among California Prisoners on the Rise read more

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Law Enforcement is on the Front Lines of Race War read more

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Proposition 47 Progress Report: Year One Implementation read more

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When Did Prisons Become Acceptable Mental Healthcare Facilities? read more

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Proposition 36 Progress Report: Over 1,500 Prisoners Released; Historically Low Recidivism Rate read more

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Progress Report: Three Strikes Reform (Proposition 36); 1,000 Prisoners Released read more

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In the News

Roby So (left) and Carlos Cervantes in Pomona, Calif. Credit Damon Casarez for The New York Times

Thousands of inmates are released from prison every day with nowhere to go and no family or friends who can support them. The Project’s “Ride Home” team meets released inmates at the prison gates, helps them navigate their first hours and days of freedom and transports them to a pre-approved residential reentry program.

Read New York Times Magazine

Lawmakers Unveil Broad US Criminal Justice Reform Bill
Global Post (AFP) read story

Out of Prison, and Staying Out, After 3rd Strike in California
The New York Times read story

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