Drug Policy, Education, and Decriminalization Project

DECrim (Drug Policy, Education, and Decriminalization Project) SLP Logo

The purpose of DECrim is to research, identify, and advocate against procedural and substantive barriers in the criminal legal system that contribute to the increased criminalization of drug use across the United States. The impact of punitive drug policies on mass incarceration is well known, but less discussed are the machinations within the system that perpetuate the increased arrests and incarceration of people who use drugs. DECrim aims to shine a light on these legal challenges and problems and hopes to give legal advocates the tools to better litigate these issues in the courtroom. DECrim conducts this research through a critical anti-racist lens and aims to center the experiences of those most affected by the War on Drugs in its research and work product.

DECrim focuses on three key research and policy areas: drug policy issue briefs, blog posts, and template motions. Issue briefs are centered around summarizing scientific evidence and recent case law such as the nature of addiction and research on evidentiary issues in drug convictions and sentencing. Blog posts provide an opportunity for students to summarize these issue briefs for community educational purposes. Template motions will be used by practitioners in litigation of sentencing and evidentiary issues in drug cases. Members will receive substantive and issue-specific trainings from supervising attorneys at the Drug Policy Alliance, and may also have the chance to volunteer with a local Syringe Services Program to supplement their work and develop understanding of health-based alternatives to drug criminalization.

DECrim will also host an optional book club for its members. We will read one book per semester that focuses on an aspect of harm reduction or drug policy. This will be a chance for students to connect, socialize, and deepen our understanding of the harm reduction movement. 

Supervision: Students will be supervised by attorneys at the Drug Policy Alliance.

Time Commitment: 15-20 hours per semester (1 hour biweekly team meeting and roughly 2 hours of work per week)

For more information, please contact the student leaders at decrim@berkeley.edu.