Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

234.21 sec. 001 - Dismantling Mass Incarceration (Spring 2023)

Instructor: Tony Cheng  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
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Units: 1
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


Th 6:25 PM - 8:15 PM
Location: Law 115
From January 12, 2023
To February 23, 2023

Course Start: January 12, 2023
Course End: February 23, 2023
Class Number: 32386

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 6
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 25
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM

Despite substantial empirical evidence that large-scale incarceration is an ineffective means of protecting public safety, widespread changes in criminal law and policy over the past several decades have been largely responsible for a 500% increase in the number of people incarcerated in the United States over the last forty years. As a result of these trends, the United States now incarcerates a larger share of its population than any other country in the world. Further, at 2.3 million people, the United States also houses the world’s largest overall incarcerated population, despite only having just over 4% of the world’s total population.

This one-unit seminar will provide students a broad survey of both the underlying causes and invidious effects of the exploding prison and jail population in the United States, as well as the opportunity to study and debate potential reforms targeted at this crisis. From the war on drugs to the Balkanization of criminal justice reform, students will study how misguided efforts undertaken in the name of public safety have instead resulted in widespread unintended social consequences, as well as the creation of a growing and pervasive underclass, disproportionately comprised of people of color, ensnared by the direct and collateral consequences of the criminal justice system.

Tony Cheng is the Associate Director for Global Programs at the UC Hastings College of Law and the former Director of the Youth Defender Clinic (YDC) at the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC).

Prior to joining EBCLC, Tony practiced as a public defender for twenty years, litigating cases in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the federal district court for the Southern District of California, the California Court of Appeal, the San Diego County Superior Court and the Alameda County Superior Court. In addition to nearly a decade of experience as a juvenile defender, Tony has also tried almost forty criminal jury trials to verdict during his career. Tony serves on the board of directors of the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center (PJDC) and is certified by the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) as a juvenile defense trainer. Tony has authored training and educational materials published by PJDC and has presented at the NJDC Leadership Summit and the Practising Law Institute.

Tony is a graduate of the UC Davis School of Law (King Hall), where he served as chair of the Moot Court Board and graduated from the school’s Public Interest Law Program.

Exam Notes: (P) Final paper  
Course Category: Social Justice and Public Interest
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Race and Law

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