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Governments uniquely have the power to punish people who break the law, by prosecuting them for alleged crimes and by sentencing them if they are convicted. How does the government use this power? How should it? And what constitutional rights do people suspected or accused of crimes enjoy? In courses examining the penal system from police investigations on through trials, convictions, sentencing, and post-conviction processes, Harvard Law students have opportunities to study the laws and institutions of the penal system, learning from leading scholars in the field and from experienced practitioners, including retired federal and state judges, current and former prosecutors, and defense attorneys.

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HLS Professors

Visiting Professors & Lecturers


Criminal Justice Appellate Clinic

Students will participate in an externship with the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center (“MJC”) in Washington, D.C., working on appeals before federal circuit courts…

Criminal Justice Institute

The Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) offers a unique union of classroom instruction and hands-on experience for students who represent indigent adults and juvenile clients facing…

Crimmigration Clinic

In the Crimmigration Clinic, students work on cutting-edge issues regarding the intersection of criminal law and immigration law. The content of the clinical projects will depend on…

Federal Courts Clinic

The Federal Courts Clinic allows students to work with federal judges throughout the country and at different levels of the judicial system to gain a…

Government Lawyer: Semester in Washington Clinic

Students spend the entire Spring Term in Washington, D.C. working as legal interns in a variety of federal offices while taking an evening course on…

Government Lawyer: United States Attorney Clinic

The Government Lawyer: U.S. Attorney clinic allows students to examine firsthand the roles and responsibilities of a federal prosecutor. Students are placed at the United…

Institute to End Mass Incarceration Clinic

The Institute to End Mass Incarceration is a research and advocacy program that works toward the dramatic decarceration of the United States, the eradication of…

Judicial Process in Trial Courts Clinic

Clinical placements are available with individual judges of the District Court, Boston Municipal Court, Juvenile Court, and Housing Court Departments of the Massachusetts Trial Court,…

Research Programs and Centers

Related Courses

Course Term Instructor(s)
Access to Justice Lab Spring 2025 Seminar D. James Greiner
Anti-carceral Organizing and Lawyering Spring 2025 Seminar Andrew Crespo
Capital Punishment Clinic Winter 2025 - Spring 2025 Clinic Carol Steiker
Capital Punishment in America Fall 2024 Course Carol Steiker
Comparative Abolitions (Slavery, Capital Punishment, Prison, Police) Fall 2024 Seminar Carol Steiker
Conservative Thought in the United States Fall 2024 Seminar Jack Goldsmith
Contemporary Issues in Constitutional Law Fall 2024 Course Goodwin Liu
Corporate Criminal Investigations Fall 2024 Seminar Daniel Kahn, Leo Tsao, Lorinda Laryea
Criminal Justice Appellate Clinic Winter 2025 - Spring 2025 Clinic Amir Ali, Devi Rao
Criminal Justice Appellate Clinical Seminar Winter 2025 - Spring 2025 Seminar Amir Ali, Devi Rao
All Related Courses

Additional Programs