State prison advisor gets Stanford Law post

A well-known criminologist who has advised Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on overhauling California’s prison system has been appointed to the Stanford Law School faculty as a professor.

Joan Petersilia most recently has been a Professor of Criminology, Law and Society in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine, where she directed the Center for Evidence-Based Corrections.

The author of eight books on corrections policy, Petersilia has brought her research on parole reform, prisoner reintegration and sentencing policy to bear on California’s prisons as a special advisor to the governor since 2003. She helped reorganize juvenile and adult corrections, create a new Office of Research and an Office of Policy and Planning, and work with the California Legislature to implement prison and parole reform.

Petersilia will also serve as faculty co-director for the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, helping the center to assess policies on crime control, sentencing, and corrections, and to develop nonpartisan analyses and recommendations to help public officials, the legal community and the public understand state and national criminal justice policy.

Before Irvine, Petersilia directed the Criminal Justice Program at RAND Corp., a leading social science think tank, and served as president of the American Society of Criminology. She’s also the former director of the National Research Council’s study on Crime Victims with Disabilities; the former director of the California Policy Research Center’s study on Criminal Offenders with Developmental Disabilities; and served as a visiting professor at Stanford Law from 2005 to 2006. She holds a doctorate in Criminology, Law & Society from UC-Irvine; a Master’s degree in sociology from Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Loyola University of Los Angeles.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.