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Building a Network for Critical Study of Criminal Justice

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In 2008, five students representing four different U.C. Berkeley graduate departments—Jurisprudence & Social Policy, Education, Sociology, and Public Policy—got together for coffee. None of us knew each other, but we had one friend in common: Amy Lerman, a recent U.C. Berkeley Political Science Ph.D., who had completed a dissertation that examined the California Correctional Peace Officers’ Union. The five of us were all studying the criminal justice system in some form: policing, prisons, theories of punishment, and fear of crime. We were all eager for a forum to talk about our research, and for colleagues with similar interests. We started meeting regularly, and in 2009, we applied for working group status and funding, through the Center for Race and Gender, in order to formalize and expand our group.

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