Criminal Justice Studies Program



gavelThe Institute for Legal Research’s Criminal Justice Studies Program has been a strong research presence at Berkeley Law since 1983.  The major studies produced by the program have included:

  • a transnational comparison of crime rates and rates of lethal violence in the G7 nations;
  • a study of capital punishment’s end in Europe;
  • statistical studies of the effect of California’s fourfold increase in imprisonment on felony crime rates in the 1980s;
  • a statistical and policy analysis of American youth violence;
  • policy studies on the scale of imprisonment in the United States and in California; and
  • the largest study yet done on the administration and deterrent impact of the California’s 1994 “three strikes and you’re out” legislation.

Recent projects include a series of empirical studies of capital punishment in the United States and Asia; a series of monographs about adolescent development and justice system policies that is supported by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice; and a book on the causes and effects of declines in crime in the United States during the 1990s.

Institute staff or fellows are the principal investigators on program research projects, including the Center on Culture, Immigration and Youth Violence Prevention.  These scholars hold teaching positions at several different universities and approach the research from a variety of disciplines.  Graduate and law students get practical training in empirical research methods working with fellows as research assistants.


Faculty Chair