Along with my colleagues Dan Blinka, Dean Strang, and Gordon Hylton, I’ve been organizing a conference at Marquette Law School on the Wickersham Commssion, America’s first national crime commission. Appointed by President Hoover and including many legal luminaries of the day, the Wickersham Commission produced an extraordinary series of reports in 1931 that examined in great detail the causes of crime and the operation of the American criminal-justice system. Perhaps best remembered for the critical light it cast on extreme police interrogation tactics, the Commission’s work might also be thought of as the coming-of-age of American criminology, as a progenitor of the contemporary “evidence-based decision making” movement, and as a centerpiece of the first presidential effort to craft a comprehensive federal crime-control policy.
The conference will kick off at 4:30 on October 4 with a keynote address by one of my favorite authors on crime policy, Professor Frank Zimring of Berkeley. Registration information for the keynote is here.
The conference will continue with a series of panels beginning at 8:30 on October 5. Speakers will include distinguished historians, law professors, and criminologists. Additional details and registration information are available here.