A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH (CALIFORNIA)

 

In 1972, forty criminal justice researchers from Northern and Southern California met and formed the Association for Criminal Justice Research (California chapter). On December 2, 1972, the Association was incorporated and the first Board of Directors was elected. Much of the initial inspiration and guidance for ACJRCA came from Sheldon Messinger, a professor at the School of Criminology and the School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. One of the most important decisions made in these initial years was that the Association should not be restricted to an academic focus – there already were several such organizations around – but should encourage interaction between academic researchers, government agency analysts, and program directors and other practitioners.

The Association was formed in order to stimulate and improve research on crime, delinquency and the criminal justice process. Through the establishment of twice-yearly conferences, the Association sought to encourage cooperative relations among persons engaged in researching criminal justice programs. With the initial focus of inclusion of all those interested in criminal justice issues from a research perspective, these conferences quickly expanded into an exciting, eclectic mix of researchers, program evaluators, academics, consultants, and program staff, with students of criminal justice encouraged to participate as well. United by a common involvement in the criminal justice process and a common desire to improve criminal justice programs, conference participants enjoyed excellent and varied presentations and the lively discussions that followed.

One conference was held in Southern California in the Fall (generally mid-October). For many years this conference was held in the Claremont area, then it moved down to San Diego. Over the past few years the Fall Conference has moved around from Long Beach to Huntington Beach and now to Irvine near the John Wayne (Orange County) Airport, which seems inviting and convenient for persons in Southern California who would be traveling from San Diego, Orange or Ventura Counties, the Inland Empire (San Bernardino and Riverside), as well as from the many parts of Los Angeles County. It also is easy for those flying in from Northern California as well.

The Northern California conference has been held in the Sacramento area in the Spring (generally the latter part of March), and has attracted researchers and analysts from a number of state agencies, as well as drawing persons from the Bay Area and other parts of Northern California. There is also shuttle service from Sacramento Airport for those traveling from Southern California.

The conferences have remained small enough to allow stimulating presentations and vigorous discussions of relevant criminal justice issues. The conferences have allowed the development of strong bonds between program practitioners and those with more analytic and evaluative backgrounds and positions. This networking mix has provided all Association members with new resources and ideas. The variety of recent conference topics can be seen by looking at materials posted elsewhere on this web site. One last goal of the Board of Directors regarding conferences needs to be mentioned: The Board has strived to keep the costs of attending the conferences as low as possible to enable more persons, including those working for non-profit agencies and students, to attend. A look at our conference registration form will make this desire to keep costs low quite evident, with registration fees $100 or less for the two-day conference.

In addition to the conferences, the Association has continued to inform its members, provide additional information and resources, and stimulate discussions by the regular distribution of a newsletter. In the late 1990’s, a fairly extensive web site was established with the hope to provide additional interactive opportunities. The web site has now launched its third iteration and is in the process of a significant redesign. Additional opportunities to share ideas and resources are being incorporated into the site. The Board is actively involved in extending participation opportunities and the sharing of information through efforts to expand into social media.

All of this work and information-sharing and participation are supported through a low membership fee of only $45 ($15 for full-time students). We hope that any non-members reading this will be encouraged to come to a conference and support our work by becoming members. For further information, contact the Executive Officer, Ann Goolsby at (510) 527-0264 or agoolsby@ berkeley.edu.

As an illustration of the diverse nature of our members, past presidents of the Association include:

  Sheldon Messinger, Professor, School of Criminology & School of Law, UC Berkeley

I.J. Shain, Director of Research, Judicial Council of California

Solomon Kobrin, Sr. Research Associate, Institute for Social Science Research, USC

Floyd Feeney, Center on Administration of Criminal Justice, UC Davis

Malcolm Klein, Professor, Sociology, University of Southern California

Keith Griffiths, Director of Research, California Youth Authority

Daniel Glaser, Professor, Sociology, University of Southern California

Elaine Duxbury, Research Manager, California Youth Authority

Peter Greenwood, Criminal Justice, The RAND Corporation

James Galvin, National Council on Crime and Delinquency

Joan Petersilia, Criminal Justice, The RAND Corportation

James Austin, Director of Research, National Council on Crime & Delinquency

Robert Cushman, American Justice Institute

Steve Crawford, Bureau of Criminal Statistics

Robert Dickover, Research, Department of Corrections

Susan Turner, Criminal Justice, The RAND Corporation

Gwen Kurz, Orange County Probation

Susan Collins, Orange County Probation

Christine Curtis, San Diego Association of Governments

Dale Sechrest, Professor, Criminal Justice, California State University, San Bernardino

Norman Skonovd, California Youth Authority

John Berecochea, Director of Research, Department of Corrections

Shirley Melnicoe, Executive Director, Northern California Service League

Hon. Tomar Mason, Judge, San Francisco Superior Court

Darlanne H. Mulmat, San Diego Association of Governments

Lyn Angene, San Diego Superior Court

Michael Stefanko, Orange County District Attorney’s Office

Sandy Hilger, Orange County Probation; Superior Court, Orange County
Frances Coles, Professor Emerita, Criminal Justice, CA State University San Bernardino

Amanda Noble, Senior Policy Analyst (Retired), California Research Bureau

Elizabeth Siggins, Consultant

Cory Woods, Administrative Supervisor, San Bernardino County Probation Department