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
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