The Association is in the process of re-instituting the Messinger and McGee Awards described below.


In 2003, the Association’s Board of Directors decided to honor one of its founders, the recently deceased Sheldon Messinger, by initiating an award in his name. The first Sheldon Messinger Award was presented in the Fall of 2004 to Larry Bennett. The criteria for the Messinger Award are described below.

For a number of years, the American Justice Institute has awarded its McGee Career Achievement Award at the luncheon of an ACJRCA conference. In 2015 it was announced that the AJI was being dissolved. The Association was asked to take over the awarding of the McGee Award. The disbanded Institute forwarded $5,000 to the Association to re-institute the McGee Award.

The Board of Directors of ACJRca discussed a proposal for creating an Awards Committee and reinstituting the Messinger and McGee Awards.  The Committee and the current description of the awards and award process follows.

Award Process

The tentative process discussed would be to award each of the awards every other fiscal year (July 1st through June 30th of the following calendar year). We seek to maintain something of a distinction between the awards, with the Messinger Award directed inward as recognition for contributions to the ACJRca and the McGee Award directed outward as recognition for contributions to evidence-based practice and its promotion in the field of criminal justice research, giving each award a clearer purpose and value.

The Awards Committee shall invite nominations from Association members and others knowledgeable about those likely to meet the award specifications. Nominations should be submitted by April 30th of the year prior to the fiscal year in which the award will be presented. The Committee will request, or develop themselves, a bio sketch giving the background of each nominee and their qualifications for the award. The Committee will rank the nominations either by consensus achieved through discussions or by aggregating the rankings of Committee members.  The Committee shall submit the name of the top-ranked nominee to the Board for email approval no later than June 30th of the year prior to the award (fiscal) year. The President shall contact the selected award recipient and determine which Conference the award recipient would prefer to attend to receive the award. If the selected recipient declines the award the selection will pass to the next ranked candidate, once again to be approved by email vote of the Board.

The Sheldon L. Messinger Award


The Sheldon L. Messinger Award is given to recognize significant contributions to the Association and its goals by mentoring researchers, encouraging collaboration among researchers and practitioners, or serving in a role such as Program Chair or President of the Association. The Messinger Award will be presented every two years (ACJRca fiscal years), alternating with the presentation of the McGee Career Award.  The presentation of the Messinger Award will be at the Fall or Spring Conference as selected by the recipient.  The Messinger Award shall consist of a plaque and Association membership with full conference registration for the year of the award. Awardees also will be recognized in an Association newsletter and, more permanently, in this Awards section of the Association website.

The criteria for determining a recipient is as follows:  The Association of Criminal Justice Research (California) gives the Sheldon L. Messinger Award to honor an individual who has significantly contributed to the goals of the Association by mentoring researchers, encouraging collaboration among researchers and practitioners in criminal justice or serving the Association in positions such as as Program Chair or President. The Awards Committee shall, in years alternating with the awarding of the McGee Career Achievement Award, select the awardee. The Award will be a certificate or plaque naming the award recipient, giving a brief indication of her or his significant contributions and other relevant information. The President will determine that the selected recipient is willing to receive the award before announcing it. The award will be presented at the northern or southern conference at the preference of the award recipient.

Messinger Award Recipients

Lawrence Bennett   2004

Ann Goolsby   2005

Shirley Hunt   2007

The Richard McGee Career Achievement Award


This award was instituted by the American Justice Institute to recognize researchers whose distinguished career achievements mirrored the characteristics of Richard McGee as exemplified by the values stated by the American Justice Institute.  This award was made on an infrequent basis and was presented at the Thursday luncheon of a Semi-Annual Meeting (Fall or Spring Conference) of the Association for Criminal Justice Research (California).  The award, to the best of people’s recollection, consisted of a plaque and a cash honorarium. There appear to be no specific written criteria by the American Justice Institute for determining an award recipient.  The principles and values stated by the American Justice Institute include the following:

The Institute was founded to provide a source of independent, unbiased information and policy recommendations for California correctional decision makers.  The mission of AJI was to conduct innovative research to help develop rational decision-making leading toward a more evenhanded, efficient and effective juvenile and criminal justice system, and to increase the knowledge of research findings, especially among criminal justice decision makers.

Specific and primary purposes for which AJI was formed were:

  • To encourage, sponsor and conduct basic research and surveys in the field of crime and delinquency throughout the world;
  • To assemble, correlate, evaluate, compile and disseminate data, findings, conclusions, and recommendations in said field;
  • To offer consultation to and encourage intercourse among individuals and organizations interested in its purposes; and
  • To educate its members and the general public with respect to problems, and their solution, in the field of crime and delinquency.

The McGee award was not tied to a person’s contributions to the ACJRca but is linked by the common dedication to research and supporting evidence-based practice. It is not restricted to researchers, but may be given to any individual as recognition for contributions to evidence-based practice and its promotion in the field (e.g., chiefs, leaders of non-profits, probation officers, judges, etc.).

The specific criteria to be used by the Award Committee of the Association are still to be determined.

McGee Award Recipients

Robert Cushman, 2005

Susan Turner, 2007

Ted Palmer, 2008??

Carl Jessness, 2009??