Some of these individuals participated in the ASC Oral History Project. For more information, please go to the Oral History Project page.
Tribute to Our Feminist Scholar Sister
Last night we lost our dear sister, Helen Eigenberg. Helen was an amazing scholar and friend who was also an incredibly dedicated teacher and community and campus activist. And she had the best sense of humor.
Had Helen not been stricken with stage 3B breast cancer at the age of 38, at the same time she was denied tenure in an outrageous act of sexism (the case was settled out of court), we are confident she would have published even more cutting-edge feminist contributions to criminology. We can’t recognize everything, but here are some examples:
Eigenberg, H. (1990). The National Crime Survey and Rape: The Case of the Missing Question. Justice Quarterly, 7(4):655-671. This article was influential in drastically changing how rape was asked in the NCVS (from the NCS).
Eigenberg, H., K.E. Scarborough, & V.E. Kappeler. (1996). Contributory Factors Affecting Arresting Domestic and Non-Domestic Assaults.” Journal of Police, 15(4):27-54. This was the first empirical documentation that police are significantly more likely to arrest in non-DV than DV assaults.
Helen’s numerous publications on rape in men’s prisons (e.g., Journal of Criminal Justice, 2000; Prison Journal, 1989 & 2000; chapter in 1994 edited book Violence in Prisons), including guards’/COs’ views of prisoner rape, where in one she reported “in the prison vernacular” the guards “seem to offer little assistance to inmates except the age-old advice of ‘fight or fuck’” [as cited on p. 277 in a 2012 article by James E. Robertson in the Federal Sentencing Reporter). This scholarship on prison rape resulted in her being interviewed on 60 Minutes March 3, 1996 (Episode 25, Season 2) (something she felt was the nail in her coffin for being denied tenure by some jealous colleagues).
Helen was a founder of the journal Feminist Criminology (FC) and when FC’s first editor had to suddenly step down, Helen took it on with no backlog of accepted articles and worked tirelessly to keep our journal alive, including to assist many new feminist scholars in getting their manuscripts up to speed for FC. (Jo was Helen’s “Deputy Editor” which we quickly renamed “Deputy Dog”. Jo spent her spring break and first time in Chattanooga working on some of these manuscripts with Helen in her house which was an amazing time together.)
In addition to her dedication to Feminist Criminology, Helen’s commitment to the DWC is far too extensive to cover (as are her publications, advocacy, and friendship) in this tribute, but here are some:
- In 2012, Helen was the inaugural winner of the DWC’s Sarah Hall Award, named after Susan Case’s predecessor of over 3 decades, Sarah Hall, who was a huge friend to our division. This award recognizes outstanding service to the DWC and professional interests regarding feminist criminology (see https://blog.utc.edu/news/2012/12/dr-helen-eigenberg-earns-inaugural-national-award/).
- 2008 recipient of the DWC’s Inconvenient Woman of the Year Award, given for her implementation of the Green Dot program to fight campus rape at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, as well as countless other activism resisting violence against women on and off of UT-C’s campus.
- She was the DWC website guru from the beginning of our website, until someone else took it over after years of Helen doing this. She was also chair of the DWC nominations for years.
The four of us (Joanne Belknap, Mona Danner, Helen Eigenberg and Nancy Wonders) met through various ASC and ACJS events starting in we think in the late 1980s, but primarily bonded through the DWC. We bonded over being feminist criminologists, there weren’t so many of us in those days, and our similar senses of humor and love of life. After an incredibly intense DWC meeting in San Francisco in 1991 where many members righteously and powerfully disclosed sexual exploitation and assaults by male colleagues at professional meetings and on our campuses, our fearsome foursome friendship was the most solidified. The last day we were there (a Saturday or Sunday) we went to Haight-Ashbury and realized we were all born in 1958, and we became the 58 GRRRLS. Since 1991, 3 of the 4 of us have had breast cancer and 2 of the 4 of us had painful “no-confidence” votes in our positions of chair by colleagues we thought were our friends and for whom we’d advocated. We saw each other through other painful life and work events with an enduring and solid love and respect for each other. The year we turned 50, Helen organized our first no-work event, renting a cabin near Gatlinburg. Our last night, drinking wine by a fire, Mona asked us all to think what we thought our work legacy would be, and we all said it would be the amazing students we’d had the honor to teach. We have always loved talking about our teaching and students. Since then, we have had had many mini-vacations together in varied places and varied times of the year, most recently again in a cabin near Gatlinburg and again organized by Helen, for 5 days before the ASC conference in November (2018).
A year ago, in January 2018, Helen was diagnosed with terminal cancer in her lungs, bones, and later, her brain. Her courage and humor over this last year is nothing short of heroic. Her doctors didn’t think she could survive the intensive chemo, radiation and surgeries of the initial treatments starting last January (so hadn’t put in a port). She obviously did to the doctors’ amazement. The 3 of us went to stay with her last March. One of our goals was to help her put some weight back on and we (and her doctors) were thrilled when she’d put on 5 pounds. (Jo put on 8 pounds—true story.) Last summer, Helen came to Jo’s & Scott’s (Jo’s partner) in Colorado to buy marijuana—on the advice of her palliative care providers--- to help with her pain and the treatment-induced nausea, which we turned into a week-long adventure. Jo’s Boulder medical friends assisted in the advice on the best dispensaries and brands at a dinner at her house, where Molly Bowers, was also present. Molly had a terrible wrongful conviction case that the DWC was very helpful in and she had wanted to meet Helen for a long time (via Jo’s reports of her and Helen’s support of Molly’s unsuccessful appeal for a new trial). Helen has referred to Scott as “The Saint” for years, for being able to live with Jo given the rate of lost keys and wallets; insufficient clothes and toiletries, at ASC conferences. Of course, The Saint loved Helen! He made a wonderful meal Helen, Molly, Jo, Scott, and their medical friends ate in the backyard. Later we heard tat at another dinner party someone said, “that’s probably the first and last time I’ll eat a dinner where both a former incarcerated person and a former prison guard [Helen] discussed how fucked up the prison system is!” One of many priceless moments was in one of the dispensaries when many people were in line with Helen and Jo and a cheery, loud, youthful voice said, “Hi, Professor Belknap!” and everyone in the dispensary (about 30 people) burst out laughing.
Although we’ve known Helen was dying for the last year and originally hadn’t expected her to live past March 2018, she was so vibrant last summer on the pot quest and in November in our Tennessee cabin, we didn’t realize we would never see her again. She had plans for another dispensary trip to Colorado in December and we were all talking about our next adventures together, believing we had more time. In December she got pneumonia and went downhill quickly. She passed January 25, 2019.
This world lost an amazing feminist scholar, teacher and activist, and our very dear, smart, generous, and hilarious sister.
With Great Sadness but Also Gratitude for Having Been Loved by Helen,
Jo, Mona, and Nancy
M. KAY HARRIS
M. Kay Harris, age 71, Associate Professor Emerita of Criminal Justice at Temple University, passed away after a sudden illness on November 16, 2018.
Kay was a founding faculty member of Temple’s Criminal Justice Department in 1981. Over the next three decades, Kay was instrumental in the department’s development to a highly ranked Ph.D. program. Kay’s research, teaching and wide-ranging service to the field was focused on issues related to institutional and community-based corrections and informed by her deep-seated desire to create a more just system of criminal justice.
In 1997, while department chair, Kay worked with Lori Pompa to develop the Inside-Out Prison Exchange program, through which Temple students and incarcerated individuals studied together in semester-long courses. Kay helped shape Inside-Out into an internationally recognized program of transformative education and, following her retirement in 2012, continued to nurture Inside-Out and contribute to discourse on correctional policy. Kay also worked with the Lifers Initiative at the SCI- Grateford prison (an organization comprised of and run by life-sentenced individuals) advocating for alternatives to life sentences in Pennsylvania. On multiple occasions, she organized mini-conferences at the prison bringing together incarcerated men and world-renowned criminologists to tackle pressing issues in the correctional field.
Kay's commitment and contributions to criminal justice reform predated her time at Temple. Before joining Temple, Kay was already a prominent figure with major reform and advocacy organizations such as the ABA. She served on the staff of the 1967 Johnson Crime Commission, which in many respects is where the multidisciplinary field of criminal justice took off.
Kay also left a lasting mark on the lives of many undergraduate and graduate students she taught, many of whom have gone on to promote her social justice ideals in their own careers.
Kay was an adventurer who enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and the world. She often combined travel with her commitment to criminal justice reform by visiting prisons and correctional agencies on multiple continents, constantly working for peaceful social transformation.
Kay enjoyed contra and swing dancing and while travelling for business or pleasure would look for opportunities to join in local contra and swing dance nights. She will be fondly remembered for her boundless joie de vivre and optimism, her deep compassion and wisdom, and her long-lasting friendships.
Kay received her B.A. from the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas and her M.A. from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
Contributions in her honor may be made to the Kay Harris Inside-Out Education Fund HERE, or at: www.insideoutcenter.org/our-supporters.html. (Please be sure to specify that the tribute is in Kay’s memory.)
Contributed by (alphabetically): Alan Harland, Brett Harris, Phil Harris, Peter Jones, Lori Pompa, Cathy Rosen, Ralph Taylor, and Rely Vîlcică.
C. RON HUFF
Our dear friend and colleague, C. Ron Huff, passed away on March 31, 2019 after bravely battling pancreatic cancer. A long-time professor in Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine and at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, Ron served as Dean of the School of Social Ecology at UCI and Director of the John Glenn College at OSU, where he also served as Director of the Criminal Justice Research Center.
Ron began his interest in the field working in corrections in Ohio, after receiving a MSW degree from the University of Michigan. He earned a doctorate in sociology from Ohio State in 1974, studying criminology with Sy Dinitz. After teaching at UC Irvine and Purdue, Ron returned to Ohio State, where he produced a distinguished body of research and established himself as a great academic administrator. He came to UC Irvine in 1999 to lead the School of Social Ecology, which he did for more than a decade, before returning to the faculty to focus full-time on his teaching and scholarship. He continued to produce impressive scholarship and undertake innovative teaching (such as creating an online course that quickly became a favorite).
Ron’s scholarly legacy includes at least three major lines of influence: formative work on the idea and importance of wrongful convictions, research and policy recommendations about youth gangs, and a career-long dedication to the obligations of the public university in scholarship and education about pressing issues of policy.
Ron was one of the first scholars to emphasize the problem of wrongful convictions and his early work along these lines helped bring research and scholarship on miscarriages of justice into the center of criminology and public policy debates. He began researching and writing about innocence among the convicted before most believed that systematic research on the topic was a realistic possibility and when most policy-oriented research in criminal justice was focused on crime reduction and prevention. His books (Convicted but Innocent (with A. Rattner, and E. Sagarin) and Wrongful Conviction with Martin Killias) are foundational to the field.
Ron’s scholarship has stimulated an extensive amount of academic and policy work on theory and research about gangs. Ron and his colleagues used multiple methods to study gang formation and behavior, to assess police and other intervention methods and to analyze official gang definitions and recording of gang members. His three edited volumes, Gangs in America, brought foundational research to the field.
In all, Ron authored a dozen books and over 100 journal articles. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology and served as President of the American Society of Criminology, and on dozens of committees and councils of the ASC. His many honors include the Donald Cressey Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Paul Tappan Award from the Western Society of Criminology, the Herbert Bloch Award and the August Vollmer Award from the American Society of Criminology, and the Gerhard O.W. Mueller International Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice.
Ron served tirelessly as a consultant to national and state agencies and courts about innocence, gangs, youth violence, and public policy, such as the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, the F.B.I. National Academy, and the American Bar Association committee on wrongful convictions. In retirement, he continued to offer his expertise to those working in the criminal justice system who sought to understand gangs, prevent miscarriages of justice, and otherwise ensure that public policy and practice ensured justice.
At UC Irvine, Ron led the School of Social Ecology for ten years. He became well known for asking three questions: What’s good for the public? What’s good for the University of California? And, what’s good for the School of Social Ecology? With these questions as his guide, he served the public, UCI, and Social Ecology exceptionally well. As he did so he became known for his fundamental decency and his daily acts of kindness. With his leadership, we maintained and further strengthened a "culture of civility" in our School. The tie that binds Ron’s scholarly interests together with his administrative contributions was his belief that basic research is essential for sound public policy and that public universities have an obligation to learn and to teach about how vital that connection is.
At UCI, Ron was widely and justifiably admired by his faculty, and by his colleague dean and vice chancellors, for fairness and decency in administration. And in every way--in his scholarship, in his teaching and in his stewardship of the university--Ron was driven by the highest standards of excellence. His great optimism and sense of humor were unfailing. For these and so many more reasons, he will be greatly missed. Ron is survived by his wife of 51 years, Patricia Huff, and by daughters Tamara Connor (and Michael) and Tiffany Huff and by granddaughters Skylar and Hazel. All of us recall a conversation with Ron that inevitably came around to a loving comment about one or another family member; one quickly understood that his family meant the world to him.
Michael Gottfredson, Valerie Jenness, Cheryl Maxson, and Carroll Seron
FRANK R. SCARPITTI
The field of criminology mourns the loss of Frank R. Scarpitti, who passed away on February 28, 2019. He was 82. Frank was born in Butler, PA and moved to Cleveland, Ohio at age 11. He attended junior and senior high school in Cleveland and graduated from Cleveland State University in 1958. He immediately entered graduate school at The Ohio State University, receiving his Ph.D. Degree in sociology in 1962. Although trained in criminology, his first professional position was as director of one of the first community mental health research studies, testing the efficacy of home care for schizophrenic patients. This research was published in the book Schizophrenics in the Community, and received the American Psychiatric Association's Hofhemier Prize for Research in 1967. Thus began a 44-year career of teaching, research and writing.
After spending four years on the faculty of Rutgers University, he accepted an associate professorship at the University of Delaware in 1967, moving his wife and young daughter to Radcliffe Drive in Newark, a home he and Ellen never left. Two years later he was promoted to full professor and appointed Chair of the Department of Sociology (later Sociology and Criminal Justice). He served in that position for 17 years over several terms. The year 1969 was also notable because their second child, a son, Jeffrey, was born.
Frank was a prolific scholar and writer, authoring, coauthoring or editing 19 books and over 60 articles and chapters. He researched and wrote on mental health, crime, delinquency, corrections, deviant behavior, social problems, drug treatment and the role of organized crime in illegal waste disposal. His coauthored book, Poisoning for Profit, was widely cited by legal and legislative officials as the impetus for legal action designed to curb unlawful waste dumping. He was recognized nationally by being elected President of the American Society of Criminology as well as holding various offices in several other professional organizations. In 1981, he was elected Fellow in the American Society of Criminology, in recognition of his scholarly contribution to the intellectual life of the discipline.
Frank was also committed to the University of Delaware, particularly to ensuring a climate of equality. In 1968, he was appointed by the University President to Chair the Advisory Committee on Policies, Programs, and Services Affecting Blacks and Other Minority Group Students. The committee was tasked with recommending policies to improve the campus climate for minority students. They presented their recommendations in what became known as The Scarpitti Report, which had a large influence on policies designed to increase recruitment of minority students and faculty, and also ensure their representation on the Board of Trustees.
In 2006, Frank was named the Edward and Elizabeth Rosenberg Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice and received the Francis Alison Award, the University of Delaware's highest faculty honor. Despite his various honors and awards, he was proudest of the many graduate students with whom he worked and who have assumed a variety of academic and governmental positions. Nearly 50 of them returned to Newark to attend his retirement celebration. In Frank’s honor as a graduate student mentor, the Frank Scarpitti Graduate Student Award is presented annually to a graduate student in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. It is still not uncommon for faculty and students alike to ask, “What would Frank do?” when challenging issues arise.
The most important sphere of Frank’s life was his family. Frank was a devoted husband and father, participating with Susan and Jeffrey in a variety of activities as they passed through their childhood and teenage years. For over 20 summers, the family moved to its farm in Pennsylvania, where they adopted a simpler lifestyle focused on the outdoors and the wonders of nature. For Frank, these were perhaps the happiest years of his life. Although he worked a great deal, he always had time for baseball, mystery novels, and old western movies, a subject he often lectured on.
He will be remembered as a kind, caring person, often generous to a fault, who once said he wanted to be remembered as a "good man." His family and friends believe he achieved his goal. A memorial service will be held at a future date. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ellen Canfield Scarpitti; a daughter, Susan Scarpitti Newstrom, son-in-law, George; daughter-in-law, Lisa Scarpitti; granddaughter, Alyssa Padilla and her children Bella and Matthew Castro; sister, Rita Bournique; brother Ronald; and various nieces and nephews. He was pre deceased by his son, Jeffrey, parents Frank and Geneva Scarpitti, brother Louis, and sister, Alice Lazor.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his honor to the University of Delaware, Gift Processing, 83 E. Main St., 3rd Floor, Newark, DE 19716, including in the check memo line “Frank Scarpitti Graduate Student Award in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.” Gifts can also be made on the University of Delaware secure website, www.udel.edu/makeagift and including the same designation. To send online condolences, visit www.stranofeeley.com.
BENJAMIN M. STEINER
Benjamin M. Steiner passed away on January 22, 2019 at the age of 43 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Ben was born on March 3, 1975 to Kathy (Jarolimek) and Stan Steiner in Bismarck, North Dakota where he also spent his formative years of schooling.
Ben received his B.S. in Sociology from North Dakota State University in 1997 and worked as a youth counselor and juvenile probation officer in Idaho. Ben earned a M.A. in Criminal Justice from Boise State University in 2002 and received his Ph.D. in 2008 from the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. He was an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina from 2008-12 and promoted to associate professor rank in 2012. He joined the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2012 and earned full professor rank in 2017.
Over the course of his short career, Ben became one of the nation’s leading scholars of institutional corrections. He was awarded the Young Scholar Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Juvenile Justice Section in 2009, the Distinguished New Scholar Award by the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Corrections and Sentencing in 2012, and the Outstanding Research Award by the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2012. He amassed over one million dollars in state and federal grants while producing two books, 60+ journal articles, numerous book chapters, project reports, and monographs. A great deal of his work involved partnerships with local and state corrections institutions in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Ohio. Many of his publications and research projects also involved students who called him an outstanding mentor.
Ben’s scholarship contributions were exceptional in depth and rigor. Always at the forefront in his field, his accumulated knowledge on causes of prisoner misconduct and victimization, consequences of in-prison misconduct and the sanctioning of offenders, and sources of correctional officers’ behaviors and attitudes toward prisoners have influenced the trajectories of many criminal justice scholars.
To those who knew him well, Ben was funny, witty, passionate, and warm-hearted. In his spare time, he renovated his 100-year old home, planned family vacations, cooked great meals, exercised, and played card games. He enjoyed traveling to new places – preferably with water or mountains. Ben’s professional and personal life had great meaning and he will be deeply missed by all those who knew him.
Ben leaves behind his beloved wife Emily (Wright), whom he met and married while they were both doctoral students at the University of Cincinnati. He was a devoted husband and wonderful father to their son, John. Ben is survived by parents Kathy Jarolimek (Ken) in Bismarck, North Dakota and Stan Steiner (Joy) in Jackson, Wyoming. Brothers and sisters: Keith Jarolimek (Kim), Colorado Springs, Co; Kristy Owens (Eric), Lincoln, North Dakota; Angie O’Hara (James), Yuma, AZ; Matthew Jarolimek (Christy), Minneapolis, MN; Lea Steiner and Avi Steiner, Boise, ID. Ben also leaves behind two grandmothers: Angela Jarolimek, Fargo, ND and Jane Berryman, Guthrie, OK and many nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and cousins. He also was preceded in death by his grandparents: Carl and Mary Radloff, John F. and Anna Marie Steiner, Matt Jarolimek, and Oscar Berryman.
A memorial service is being planned in March of 2019. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Corrections and Sentencing “Benjamin Steiner Excellence in Corrections Research Award.” A description of the award can be found here:
Donations can be made online or by check: Make checks payable to the American Society of Criminology and include The Benjamin Steiner Award in the notes. Mail to: American Society of Criminology, 1314 Kinnear Rd., Ste. 212, Columbus, OH 43212
Online donations: https://account.asc41.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=3352
Scroll to the bottom to find: You can make a donation online using our donation form. Click on the donation form link, and be directed to a portal where log-in will be required. Non-ASC members must set up a temporary account then can log in and make a tax-deductible donation to Ben’s Award.
Memorials may be sent to the University of Nebraska Foundation to benefit the Dr. Benjamin Steiner Fellowship for Criminal Justice Professionals – 1010 Lincoln Mall, Suite 300, Lincoln, NE 68508