Our Work

The Center pursues its mission through a mix of academic and public policy research, and litigation advocacy. The academic and public policy components analyze good criminal justice practices at all levels of government, produces scholarship and policy reports on criminal justice issues. The litigation component uses the center’s research and experience with criminal justice practices to inform courts in important criminal justice matters, particularly in cases in which exercises of prosecutorial discretion create significant legal issues. In recent years, the Center established itself as a leader in the fight for clemency reform.  In response to the Obama administration's clemency initiative, the Center, with generous funding from private donors and the Open Society Foundations, launched a pop-up legal services clinic to assist people incarcerated in federal prison with their clemency applications. From 2014 to 2016, we filed roughly 200 petitions for clemency, and President Obama granted clemency relief and freedom to 96 of our clients, many of whom were serving life sentences for drug offenses.