The Institute draws upon a breadth of expertise within UC Hastings, including a diverse criminal law faculty, and experts from affiliated research centers.
The U.C. Hastings Institute for Criminal Justice is dedicated to promoting the fair, effective, and ethical administration of criminal justice. An umbrella entity for criminal justice engagement by the UC Hastings community, the Institute pursues these goals through rigorous and engaged scholarship, high-quality pedagogy and educational programs, legal representation, and community outreach.
Consistent with the public service ideals of the University, the Institute will place particular emphasis on serving the needs of the local community, with an eye towards reform of the criminal justice system on a statewide and national basis.
Education and Clinics
The Institute offers Hastings students the opportunity to graduate with a Criminal Law Concentration, focusing on courses from our criminal law curriculum.
The Institute is also the proud home of the Criminal Practice Clinic, UC Hastings’ longstanding clinical outplacement program. The Institute’s faculty conducts a rigorous training program regarding California criminal procedure and law at the beginning of the semester. After the training is completed, students work a minimum of 32 hours per work at Bay Area District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s Offices. The Criminal Practice Clinic is the capstone of many students’ law school experience and is the starting point of their career in criminal prosecution or defense.
In addition, students have the opportunity to seek a variety of criminal law opportunities through the Legal Externship Program. Placements include the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Public Defender’s Office, First District Appellate Project, Capital Appellate Project, Habeas Corpus Resource Center, and most recently UnCommon Law, a non-profit focusing on “lifer” parole hearings.
The Institute actively encourages the development of student opportunities that provide both an excellent learning opportunity for our students and an important service to the community.
Community outreach and policy-making
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. 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.
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, offering news and opinions about the correctional system in California through Professor Hadar Aviram’s California Correctional Crisis blog, and Rory Little’s frequently contributes to SCOTUSBlog.
The Institute is also committed to promoting student involvement through community service and other related programs.