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Sociologist addresses ethical concerns of prisons

March 7, 2006

KALAMAZOO--A sociologist with longstanding controversial views on criminology will visit the Western Michigan University campus Tuesday, March 14, for a presentation on prisons.

Dr. Richard Quinney, professor emeritus of sociology at Northern Illinois University, will present a talk titled "Serving Time: Abolishing the Prison" at 5 p.m. in Room 204 of the Bernhard Center. His talk is free and open to the public and sponsored by the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, the Kercher Endowment and the Graduate Student Advisory Committee.

In late 20th century criminology, few thinkers rivaled Quinney for the scope or controversy of their work. Quinney's extensive bibliography spans more than 30 years and includes such groundbreaking works as 1967's "Criminal Behavior Systems: A Typology" and "The Problem of Crime" and "The Social Reality of Crime," both published in 1970.

Widely regarded as the founder of the critical criminology movement, Quinney espoused a radical view that attracted like-minded adherents in criminal, sociological and legal theory. Having long embraced elements of humanism, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism in his work, he called for criminology to dedicate itself to reducing human suffering, a position exemplified in the book "Criminology as Peacemaking," published in 1991 and co-edited with Harold Pepinsky, a noted scholar and editor of "Storytelling Sociology: Narrative as Social Inquiry."

Quinney retired from teaching in 1997, but continues to write widely, including the autobiographical "Bearing Witness to Crime and Social Justice" in 2000 and "Borderland" in 2001.

In "Bearing Witness to Crime," Quinney provides his own selection of his past papers that reflect what a student of crime should be aware of and take the reader through his progression from radical thinker and scholarly critic to peacemaker and spiritual sage.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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