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Crime and punishment

A subject we’ve done extensive work on but don’t talk about much is criminal justice. David Levinson has written on aggression and violence, cross-culturally, and also was editor-in-chief of the first Sage Reference title, the Encyclopedia of Crime & Punishment. How odd that I should just talking to a law professor about editing a single volume on this subject> What I told her was that I would like the book to explain what’s known about criminal behavior (and attempts to stop or limit it) in a way that’ll be helpful to ordinary citizens watching the news and trying to make sense of events.

Two Berkshire authors, James Fox and Jack Levin, have been interviewed about the recent murders at Virginia Tech. Here’s Jack Levin being interviewed by Newsweek: “‘Premeditative and Selective’ –A leading criminologist discusses the most probable motive for the rampage at Virginia Tech and how college campuses are likely to respond.” I’ll post a selection from Jack’s article on “Mass Murders” here, too, so you can see the kind of overview an encyclopedia article provides.

And I have to add a personal note, because I remember just how we met him. David and I and Robin O’Sullivan, the amazing project coordinator who juggled a wickedly tight schedule and experts on serial killing, juvenile homicide, and other uplifting topics with great aplomb, were at a criminal justice conference in San Francisco. Robin practically ran the Sage Reference booth, signing up people to write as they walked by. Jack Levin lives in her Massachusetts hometown and she knew him vaguely, so when he came into the exhibit hall he had no chance of escape. He’s written for several of our encyclopedias, and we’re grateful to him and his colleagues for their help—especially given that they are much in demand outside the academic world.

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