Students for Criminal Justice Reform

About Us

SCJR is a new Harris student organization that seeks to organize events, advocate for specific policy wins, and connect experts, affected populations, and policy makers in order to facilitate a constructive and evidence based conversation about criminal justice reform at a local and national level.

Recent News

On April 19thSCJR will be visiting Springfield to talk with state legislators about the “Removing Invisible Bars Act”. We have partnered with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) by doing policy research to evaluate the effects of no longer sending parolees back to prison for “associating with others on parole”. If you would like to participate in this research, please contact the Advocacy Committee.

SCJR is now a Graduate School Affiliate of Student Alliance for Prison Reform (SAPR), a network of university student organizations seeking and supporting reforming the US criminal justice system.

Upcoming Events

TBD in May

Come to SCJR’s second Policy in Practice: Student Edition to enjoy lunch and learn about the practical implications of policy in your Harris’s classmate work experience.


Wednesday, May 11th

Join SCJR and LAM for Policy in Practice Speaker: Monte Alejandro Rubido Garcia, former National Commissioner for Security, Mexico. We look forward to hearing the unique perspective on a range of criminal justice and policy issues.

Wednesday, May 18th, 12:15 p.m.

Come to Policy in Practice Speaker - Amy Campanelli, Cook County Public Defender and gain a deeper understanding of the role of a Public Defender and her perspective on criminal justice issues.

Past Events

Thank you to those who attended Lunch and Learn: “Incarceration, Recidivism and Employment” on April 11th, featuring University of Chicago Postdoctoral Scholar, Manudeep Bhuller. His and his colleagues’ research on the effects of incarceration in Norway and the US was a perfect fit for students interested in criminal justice and program evaluation.

On Friday, April 8th, SCJR had its first film screening, featuring Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration and New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S. Thank you to everyone who came out to learn and discuss.

Thank you to everyone who came to our first Policy in Practice: Student Edition on Wednesday, March 2nd. We heard from panelist Dan Kowalski, Carolina Bernal, and Manuel Toral talk about their experience in the criminal justice system and policy world. Thank you to our panelists for their informative and engaging presentations.

On Saturday, February 27th, SCJR visited Central Bond Court for the Circuit Court of Cook County and had brunch and an interactive discussion with staff from the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice about the intricacies and realities of the Cook County Court system.  

Thanks to everyone who came out, our Conversation on Community Engagement with University of Chicago Chief of Police, Fountain Walker, on February 4th, was a huge success! We discussed UCPD’s role in neighboring South Side communities, Chief Walker's strategy for community engagement, and how students can play a role in advocating for policy changes and helping UCPD address current issues.

Thank you to everyone who came out to our SCJR Informational Session on January 21st, to learn more about SCJR’s aims, events, partners, and how to get involved. If you haven't joined a committee but would like to see below! For any questions or suggestions, please see our Contact Info page!

On December 4th, SCJR held a discussion with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart on offender re-entry. The event was co-sponsored with the Criminal Law Society and Defenders student organizations at the Law School and JusticeWorks, a student organization at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA).

For information on upcoming events join our Mailing List

For events, articles, and updates like our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter

Join a SCJR Committee by emailing Barbara Barreno-Paschall with the subject line "SCJR Interest in Joining _____ Committee"

  • Programs Committee (Director: Leo Ortiz Monasterio): events, discussions, panels, lectures, and film screenings
  • Advocacy Committee (Director: Rachel Johnson): policy research projects, issue-based organizing
  • Community Outreach Committee (Director: Lauren Speigel): public service, volunteer programs, collaboration with campus and community organizations
  • Public Relations Committee (Director: Roman Rivera): social media, articles, branding, public information