Some of these individuals participated in the ASC Oral History Project. For more information, please go to the Oral History Project page.
Jo Dixon, 70, passed away unexpectedly, on March 7, 2020, at her home in Estero, FL. A professor of sociology at New York University until her retirement last year, Jo received a BA in sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensborough in 1972, her MA in sociology at Emory University in 1981, and her PhD in sociology at Indiana University in 1989. Jo was an accomplished and highly regarded scholar and a deeply committed teacher and mentor. Her studies on criminal sentencing, domestic violence policies and practices, responses to sexual violence, gender stratification in the legal profession, and other topics were published in the top journals of her field including Law and Society Review, the American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, and Criminology and Public Policy.
At the time of her death, Jo was completing a comparative justice project that examined the role of state building in efforts by elites to select transitional justice tools capable of attaining the often-contradictory goals of justice and state building. Her research is widely cited and will have a lasting effect on sociological and criminological scholarship for years to come.
Jo valued teaching and mentoring. She was recognized for her teaching by New York University in 1999, when she was awarded NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 1992, when she was awarded NYU’s Golden Dozen Teaching Award. She directed NYU’s interdisciplinary Institute for Law and Society and its Law and Society graduate program for many years. Jo was an excellent mentor of graduate students. Several of her Ph.D. students received dissertation awards from the National Science Foundation or the National Institute of Justice, and her Ph.D. students have gone on to obtain faculty positions at prestigious universities and have themselves made important contributions to the discipline. Jo has also influenced universities around the world, teaching or conducting research at the University of Vienna and at NYU’s programs in Prague and Abu Dhabi.
Jo was an active member of several professional associations, having served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Law and Society Association, organizer of multiple programs for the American Society of Criminology, and council member of the Law and Society Section of the American Sociological Association. She also served on the editorial board of the American Sociological Review, Law and Society Review, and Law and Social Inquiry.
Jo had an inspiring sense of adventure and curiosity. She was beloved by her family and friends, maintaining strong, cherished bonds with friends for decades. She had a wonderful laugh, cheered for her friends’ successes and comforted them at times of sadness and loss.
Jo was born in Dunn, North Carolina on November 20, 1949. Her parents were Wallace and Annie Laurie Dixon. She is survived by her loving husband, Mari C. Engracia, her brother Wallace (Dana) Dixon, sisters-in-law Danna Sue Dixon and Ann Tart Dixon, as well her stepchildren, Jennifer, Judith and Jay and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents and her brothers EB Dixon and David Dixon. Memorial contributions can be made to the American Tinnitus Association.
Nicholas Kittrie passed away in December at the age of 93. He served as the President of the American Society of Criminology in 1975. A professor at American University's Washington College of Law, Dr. Kittrie was the College's longest-tenured faculty member, and taught for more than 50 years. See below for a more detailed obituary.
MICHAEL J. LEIBER
Michael J. Leiber’s (1956-2020) friends and colleagues are sad to announce his untimely passing. Mike should be best remembered for his desire to see the world become a better, fairer, and more equitable place. He believed in advancing knowledge to correct the many challenging social ills in society, and this concern for social justice guided his career. Mike grew up in and cherished his home town, Milwaukee. He earned his BA from Marquette University, and then entered the MA program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He transferred to The University at Albany, where he earned his MA and Ph.D. He held academic positions at the University of Northern Iowa (1989-2005), Virginia Commonwealth (2005-2010), and the University of South Florida (2010-2020), where he also served as department chair (2011-2019). His research focused primarily on juvenile justice and disproportionate minority contact with the criminal justice system. He authored over 100 publications, including 76 articles and book chapters, and more than two-dozen government reports, and received more than $700k in grants and contracts. Mike was the recipient of several scholarly awards of which he was proud, including those from the Division of Minorities and Women (Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences), a lifetime achievement award from the Division on People of Color and Crime (American Society of Criminology), the W. E. B. Du Bois Award from the Western Society of Criminology, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University at Albany, among others. He served as editor of the Journal of Crime and Justice, and more recently, Justice Quarterly. He was often an invited speaker at programs and sessions sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, Washington, D.C. Many knew Mike in a variety of capacities: distinguished scholar, colleague, mentor, and friend. In his personal life, he was a devoted animal lover to his multiple cats and “fidos.” An avid sports fan, he loved his Green Bay Packers, along with the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks, and the Wisconsin Badgers. He maintained a pristine early 1970s Alfa Romeo Spider. He is survived by his beloved wife of eight years, Lana. Condolences may be sent to her at: 4946 Ebensburg Drive, Tampa, Florida, 33647.
(October 20,1931-March 14, 2020) Our esteemed, longtime colleague and friend, Ted Palmer, passed away peacefully on March 14, 2020. Ted’s research and legacy are classic to the field of criminology and corrections. His contributions include being one of the “firsts” to implement a randomized trial in a juvenile justice setting and pioneering the identification of programmatic factors that affect the quality of interventions. In his 2004 presidential address to the ASC, Francis Cullen recognized Ted as one of the 12 people who “saved correctional rehabilitation.” Ted was later recognized by the ASC Academy of Experimental Criminology which awarded him the 2011 Joan McCord Award.
As lead researcher for the California Youth Authority and the California Department of Corrections during the 1960s and 1970s, Ted produced a remarkable body of research. One of his most well-know projects, the Community Treatment Project, utilized a rigorous experimental design, amassed a wealth of knowledge about juvenile offenders and developed strategies for identifying and addressing their differential needs. Throughout his career and in retirement, Ted addressed the issue of correctional effectiveness. Most notably, he countered a 1974 article in which Robert Martinson reviewed 231 correctional program evaluations and concluded that no therapeutic model worked to reduce youth recidivism. Ted meticulously reanalyzed Martinson’s data and reported that 48% of the 231 studies actually showed positive or partially positive results and that many programs had worked for some offenders and not others.
In retirement, Ted was a regular attendee of the ASC meetings. He befriended and advised many younger scholars. Although he never pursued a career in academe, he was a precious mentor who offered wise and gentle counsel. He was regularly sought after as a dinner companion and valued friend. In 2005, Ted and a former colleague established the Marguerite Q. Warren and Ted B. Palmer Differential Intervention Award, an award offered through the ASC Division of Corrections and Sentencing. Ted helped to insure the legacy or rigorous research and instilled in many the value of research in action settings and collaboration with front line agencies.
Friends and colleagues were fascinated by Ted’s life. He was born in 1931, after his parents, Mary Korn and Jack Puchalski, left Poland to escape economic hardship and rising antisemitism. Ted is a veteran of the Korean War where he served as an Army medic providing mental health services to soldiers suffering from “shell shock” (PTSD). He later received his doctorate degree in psychology from the University of Southern California. He was multilingual and an avid student of astronomy and art. In his 70s and 80s, Ted pursued a rigorous travel agenda, which included long trips to such exotic places as the South Pacific Islands, the Great Wall of China, Mongolia, Antarctica, India, Nepal, and Tibet. At the time of his death, he was planning another trip to Southeast Asia which included paragliding in the Seychelles and a stop in Brazil on the way home.
Ted’s wife, Mildred, passed away in 2019. He is survived by a daughter, Cara, and a son and daughter-in-law, Clay and Jocelyn.
We were privileged to know you, Ted,
Pat Van Voorhis, Francis Cullen, Fay Taxman, Phil Harris, and Kathleen Heide
CINDY J. SMITH
Cindy J. Smith, past chair of the Division of International Criminology, past Secretary/Treasurer of the Division on Corrections and Sentencing, and most recently, Director of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), passed away January 18, after courageously battling cancer.
Cindy was born in Fostoria, Ohio. She held a Ph.D. in Social Ecology from the University of California Irvine, a M.S. in Education Administration from the National University, Irvine, a M.S. in Justice from American University and a B.A. from Baldwin Wallace College.
She began her career at the University of Baltimore, as Associate Professor and Director of the Master’s in Criminal Justice Program (2000-2005). As a first-generation university student, she mentored others like her as well as international students, particularly Turkish National Police managers. Intrigued by Turkey, she enjoyed a year there as a Fulbright Senior Researcher. She shifted smoothly between the academy and policy work, serving as Chief of the International Center at NIJ (2005-2008), Associate Professor at the University of Baltimore (2008-2010), Lead Foreign Affairs Officer at the Department of State (2011-2012), and Senior Coordinator for International Programs in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State (2012-2015). In 2015, the Secretary-General of the U.N. appointed her Director of UNICRI, the first woman to serve in this capacity. She retired from this post in 2018.
Her research covered a wide range of topics, including juvenile justice, corrections and human trafficking. She was instrumental in convincing international policymakers to use criminological knowledge to better guide their work.
Cindy’s friends remember her as unfailingly positive and a force to be reckoned with. She thought the world was flawed, but woke up every day asking herself, “what can I do about it?” She started “saving the world” one child as at a time by serving as a foster mother and adopting children. Frustrated that she could not do enough, she pursued her doctorate so that she could do more. Ultimately she set her sights on helping the whole world and joined the U.N. She was humble, energetic, and unforgettable. Her stories were legend and made us laugh until we cried. We will miss her greatly.
She is survived by her husband Rick Smith, seven children, 16 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Rosemary Barberet, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Joanne Savage, Illinois State University
Jodi Lane, University of Florida
PAUL E. TRACY, JR.
Paul E. Tracy, Jr. passed away unexpectedly on January 5, 2020, shortly after retiring from the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he served as professor and graduate director for the School of Criminology and Justice Studies for 8 years. Paul’s long and successful career also included serving on the faculties and impacting the lives of many students at the University of Texas at Dallas, Northeastern University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Paul’s earned his B.A. from Rhode Island College and his Ph.D. in 1978 in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. He was Senior Research Associate for the Criminal Justice Program Evaluation Center at the Mitre Corporation, then returned to Penn as a faculty member to collaborate with his mentor, Marvin Wolfgang, becoming Director of the Graduate Program in Criminology and part of the move from Arts & Sciences to Wharton. He served as Associate Director of the Sellin Center for Criminology & Criminal Law, a position that enabled him to help assure that the 1958 Philadelphia Birth Cohort study was able to include the follow up to age 26 for those 27,160 subjects. In 1985, Paul moved to be close to family and taught at Northeastern for 7 years, leaving to help establish a crime and justice program at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he worked for 19 years, before returning to his favorite part of the country and joining the Lowell faculty.
A skilled methodologist and staunch advocate for improving criminal justice policies, Paul’s scholarly contributions focused on measurement and analysis of criminal careers over the life course, juvenile justice, drug prohibition, prisoner re-entry, and capital punishment. He was author or co-author of eight books, numerous articles and technical reports. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of Crime & Delinquency for 15 years. His scholarship was recognized by the Western Society of Criminology President’s Award in 2003.
A beloved teacher of courses at all levels, he served on or directed nearly 40 dissertations. Paul’s outstanding teaching was accorded Distinguished Teaching Awards by both Penn and Northeastern, the Social Science Teaching Award by UT-Dallas, and the Chancellor’s Outstanding Teaching Award by the University of Texas Systems.
Paul was a proud father, husband, and patriot. He cared about veterans, especially those who had served in Vietnam, as he had. He loved fast cars, spicy food, and practicing the martial arts, at which he was an expert. He will be missed by many.
Submitted by Kimberly Kempf-Leonard