Haney joins commission to study high rates of incarceration

UC Santa Cruz professor of psychology Craig Haney has been named to a National Academy of Science panel of leading scholars and experts on corrections to study the causes and consequences of high rates of incarceration in the United States.

The two-year, $1.5 million project is sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The commission will focus on existing scientific evidence on incarceration in the United States and propose a research agenda on incarceration and alternatives to incarceration for the future.  More than 2.3 million people are behind bars in U.S. prisons and jails, representing one of the highest incarceration levels in the world.

Haney's research concerns the application of social psychological principles and data to various legal and civil rights issues. He has specialized in the assessment of institutional environments, especially the psychological effects of incarceration, as well as the study of social histories of persons accused or convicted of serious violent crimes.

The panelists will study why incarceration rates in the country have skyrocketed since the 1970s, examine costs and benefits of the nation's current sentencing and incarceration policies, and look into whether alternative punishments might net similar public safety benefits at lower financial and social costs.

Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, will chair the panel.

Others panelists are Jeffrey Beard, former secretary of the Pennsylvania Corrections Department, now at Pennsylvania State University; Robert Crutchfield, sociologist at the University of Washington; Tony Fabelo of the Council of State Governments Justice Center; Marie Gottschalk, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania; Randall Kennedy, professor of law at Harvard University; Glenn C. Loury, professor of social sciences and economics at Brown University; Sara McLanahan, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University; Lawrence Mead, professor of politics and public policy at New York University; Ann Morrison Piehl, professor of economics at Rutgers University; Daniel Nagin, professor of public policy and statistics at  Carnegie Mellon University; Devah Pager, a professor of sociology at Princeton;  Robert Sampson, professor of social sciences at Harvard and president of the American Society of Criminology; Heather Thompson, professor of history at Temple University; Michael Tonry, professor of law of the University of Minnesota; Avelardo Valdez, professor of social work at the University of Southern California; and Bruce Western, professor of sociology at Harvard.

More information about the National Academy of Science project is available at http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/projectview.aspx?key=49441.