Social Science Bites

Jeffrey Ian Ross on Convict Criminology

October 4, 2021 4318
Jeffrey Ian Ross
LISTEN TO JEFFREY IAN ROSS NOW! (Photo: University of Baltimore)

“Convict criminology,” Jeffrey Ian Ross explains in this Social Science Bites podcast, is “a network, or platform, that’s united in the perception that the convict voice has been either neglected or marginalized in scholarship or policy debates in the field of criminology in general, and corrections in particular.”

Ross, a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Baltimore, is one of the originators of the concept, he tells interviewer David Edmonds. Seeing “a big gap” in the work of criminology and corrections, in the early 1990s he and Stephen Richards focused on tapping “the lived experience of convicts” for this academic work. Both men had experience with the corrections system – Ross had worked for several years in a correctional institution and later was a social science analysts with U.S. Department of Justice, while Richards had spent three years in federal prison for marijuana distribution before becoming a professor.

About half of the people in the field of convict criminology are either ex-convicts, have impacted by the prison system or are prison activists who have or are in the process of getting a PhD in criminology, Ross says. “Many people who have a criminal conviction try to keep it quiet,” Ross says about jobseekers in academe (or anywhere), and he’s proud of the strides convict criminologists have made. “We’ve managed to forge a beachhead and produce very impressive scholarship,” he says, all the while offering authenticity and degree of inside knowledge.

Convict criminology, he details, rests on three pillars: scholarly research, mentorship, and some sort of service or activism. All three pillars arise from a “desire and goal to make a meaningful impact on prison conditions.”

So mentorship, for example, might involve having ex-cons be mentors in re-entry programs, while scholarly research benefits from both having an inside view that pays extra dividends when interviewing incarcerated or formerly incarcerated subjects and in understanding the nuances of their accounts.

Ross has written, co-written or edited a number of books on criminology, including the Routledge Handbook of Street Culture and Convict Criminology for the Future, both out this year.

He has received a number of awards over the years, including the University of Baltimore’s Distinguished Chair in Research Award in 2003; the Hans W. Mattick Award, “for an individual who has made a distinguished contribution to the field of criminology and criminal justice practice,” from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2018 Last year he received both the John Howard Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Division of Corrections and the John Keith Irwin Distinguished Professor Award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division of Convict Criminology.

To download an MP3 of this podcast, right-click HERE and save.

Join the debate and discuss this episode with fellow listeners on our Multytude conversation. Multytude is a new social media app that aims to make sense of the online conversation. With support from the SAGE Concept Grant, the Multytude team is working to create a new method of qualitative research for social scientists to better understand what people are saying about the big issues of today.


For a complete listing of past Social Science Bites podcasts, click HERE. You can follow Bites on Twitter @socialscibites and David Edmonds @DavidEdmonds100.

Welcome to the blog for the Social Science Bites podcast: a series of interviews with leading social scientists. Each episode explores an aspect of our social world. You can access all audio and the transcripts from each interview here. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @socialscibites.

View all posts by Social Science Bites

Related Articles

Maybe You Can’t Buy Happinesss, But You Can Teach About It
Insights
May 14, 2024

Maybe You Can’t Buy Happinesss, But You Can Teach About It

Read Now
Tavneet Suri on Universal Basic Income
Social Science Bites
May 1, 2024

Tavneet Suri on Universal Basic Income

Read Now
There’s Something in the Air, Part 2 – But It’s Not a Miasma
Insights
April 15, 2024

There’s Something in the Air, Part 2 – But It’s Not a Miasma

Read Now
The Fog of War
Insights
April 12, 2024

The Fog of War

Read Now
Alex Edmans on Confirmation Bias 

Alex Edmans on Confirmation Bias 

In this Social Science Bites podcast, Edmans, a professor of finance at London Business School and author of the just-released “May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases – And What We Can Do About It,” reviews the persistence of confirmation bias even among professors of finance.

Read Now
A Community Call: Spotlight on Women’s Safety in the Music Industry 

A Community Call: Spotlight on Women’s Safety in the Music Industry 

Women’s History Month is, when we “honor women’s contributions to American history…” as a nation. Author Andrae Alexander aims to spark a conversation about honor that expands the actions of this month from performative to critical

Read Now
Using Translational Research as a Model for Long-Term Impact

Using Translational Research as a Model for Long-Term Impact

Drawing on the findings of a workshop on making translational research design principles the norm for European research, Gabi Lombardo, Jonathan Deer, Anne-Charlotte Fauvel, Vicky Gardner and Lan Murdock discuss the characteristics of translational research, ways of supporting cross disciplinary collaboration, and the challenges and opportunities of adopting translational principles in the social sciences and humanities.

Read Now
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Linda Polk

Thank you for all the wonderful work you are doing with returning citizens. As you know, there is a systemic oppression of individuals suspected or convicted of a crime. It extends to supporters of people who are or have been incarcerated. I call this cultural prejudice “felonism”. It is this systemic oppression that motivates people, like the ones you mention, to remain silent about their connections to the criminal “justice” system. In our schools today, children do no talk about the trauma of seeing their parents in prison with school staff because they know it is not safe. In fact,… Read more »