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School of Criminal Justice Hosts First Albany Symposium on Crime and Justice

The first Albany Symposium on Crime and Justice, hosted by the School of Criminal Justice, brought experts from around the world April 28-29 to UAlbany's main campus.

President Kermit L. Hall and School of Criminal Justice Dean Julie Horney welcomed invited scholars, the criminal justice community, and the public to the event. UAlbany's SCJ is ranked No. 2 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Titled "Developmental Criminology and Its Discontents: Offender Typologies and Trajectories of Crime," the event dealt with key controversies that have arisen around the issues of continuity and change in violent behavior over the life course of individuals who commit crimes.

Among the featured scholars were three School of Criminal Justice alumni: Robert Sampson, John Laub, and Michael Gottfredson.

Sampson is the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard. Laub, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Maryland, recently served as president of the American Society of Criminology. Sampson and Laub are co-authors of two major books in the field: Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through Life (1993), and Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives: Delinquent Boys to Age 70 (2003), both with Harvard University Press. Shared Beginnings won the 2004 Michael J. Hindelang distinguished book award from the American Society of Criminology and the 2005 Outstanding Book Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Gottfredson is professor of criminology, law, and society, and of sociology, as well as executive vice chancellor at UCal-Irvine. His influential book, A General Theory of Crime (1990), has stimulated a decade of research and debate within the field of criminology.

In addition to Laub and Sampson, featured presenters included Daniel Nagin, former UAlbany Distinguished Professor Terence Thornberry, and Richard Tremblay.

Nagin is Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor of Public Policy and Statistics at Carnegie Mellon. His development of statistical methods for analyzing longitudinal data has been critical in focusing the field on trajectories of offending across the life course.

At the University of Colorado, Boulder, Thornberry is director of the Research Program on Problem Behavior at the Institute of Behavioral Science, and a professor of sociology. He is principal investigator of the Rochester Youth Development Study, an ongoing longitudinal study of delinquency and antisocial behavior that now covers three generations.

Tremblay is professor of pediatrics, psychiatry, and psychology at the University of Montreal. For more than 20 years, he has conducted a program of longitudinal and experimental studies addressing the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development of children from conception onward.

This core group of featured presenters gave addresses about their ongoing research. Invited discussants, also celebrated experts in their fields, responded. The more than 100 symposium attendees represented 15 states, the United Kingdom and Canada, 22 different universities, and six different criminal justice agencies. Over the two days of the symposium, UAlbany graduate students had numerous opportunities to interact with top experts in criminology and justice.

At the first presentation, held at Empire Commons, Sampson and Laub presented "A Life Course View of Developmental Criminology," while Gottfredson and University Professor of Social Science Emerita Lee Robins at Washington University School of Medicine, responded.

The following day, Nagin and Tremblay discussed "The Developmental Origins of Physical Aggression: Theories, Typologies, and Method," as Professor of Education and Statistics Stephen Raudenbush of the University of Michigan responded.

Later in the day, Thornberry gave an address on "Explaining Multiple Patterns of Offending across the Life Course." Janet Lauritsen, professor and chair, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, and D. Wayne Osgood, professor of Crime, Law, and Justice at Pennsylvania State University, responded.

The symposium ended with a roundtable discussion moderated by Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University, where he is university professor and J. Erik Jonsson Professor of Urban Systems and Operations Research.

Symposium papers are to be published as a special volume of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

The symposium was sponsored by the School of Criminal Justice, the National Consortium on Violence Research, and UAlbany's Office of the Vice President for Research.