The Criminal Justice Working Group, sponsored by the Center for Race and Gender, is a community of graduate students across academic disciplines interested in or actively engaged in researching issues related to the criminal justice system in California and in the United States. We serve as a networking site, connecting our members and others to criminal justice resources on campus and within our community, and as a research sounding board, hosting workshops for members’ research in which they present working ideas or papers and get feedback.
Membership in the Criminal Justice Working Group has grown to include dozens of students spanning departments as varied as African American studies, sociology, history, social welfare, law, and public policy. We maintain a Google group listserv through which we share announcements about our meetings and relevant events on and off campus, as well as lists of resources—including professors, academic and policy groups, community organizations, community members, and graduate students—who are engaged in criminal justice issues. During our meetings, we alternate between members’ research presentations and more informal discussions of criminal justice activities on campus and in the community.
In the 2010-2011 academic year the working group began identifying a network of faculty at California universities who conduct compelling criminal justice research with the goals of formally introducing ourselves and developing relationships across this community. In March 2011 we sponsored a dinner with Mona Lynch, Professor of Criminology, Law, & Society at UC Irvine, when she was at UC Berkeley for a presentation. In the 2011-2012 academic year we expanded our efforts and sponsored dinner meetings with Alessandro Di Giorgi, Assistant Professor of Justice Studies at San Jose State University, and Megan Comfort, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at UCSF, and author of Doing Time Together: Love and Family in the Shadow of the Prison.