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Who are the most influential people in world?

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Note: These rankings dynamically change as our AI learns new things and new publications and citations are made. Academics are actively researching and publishing new insights, leaving our measure of more recent influence subject to continual adjustments. While we delay real-time changes for quality assurance reasons, be not surprised as you see our rankings change over time.

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List of the most influential people in Criminal Justice, for the years 1200 – 2020

Cesare Beccaria
# 1
Cesare Beccaria

1738 - 1794 (56 years)

#1481 person's overall influence

Cesare Bonesana di Beccaria, Marquis of Gualdrasco and Villareggio was an Italian criminologist, jurist, philosopher, and politician, who is widely considered as the most talented jurist and one of the greatest thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment. He is well remembered for his treatise On Crimes and Punishments , which condemned torture and the death penalty, and was a founding work in the field of penology and the Classical School of criminology. Beccaria is considered the father of modern criminal law and the father of criminal justice.

Cesare Lombroso
# 2
Cesare Lombroso

1835 - 1909 (74 years)

#2484 person's overall influence

Cesare Lombroso was an Italian criminologist, physician, and founder of the Italian School of Positivist Criminology. Lombroso rejected the established classical school, which held that crime was a characteristic trait of human nature. Instead, using concepts drawn from physiognomy, degeneration theory, psychiatry and Social Darwinism, Lombroso's theory of anthropological criminology essentially stated that criminality was inherited, and that someone "born criminal" could be identified by physical defects, which confirmed a criminal as savage or atavistic.

Edwin Sutherland
# 3
Edwin Sutherland

1883 - 1950 (67 years)

#10166 person's overall influence

Edwin Hardin Sutherland was an American sociologist. He is considered as one of the most influential criminologists of the 20th century. He was a sociologist of the symbolic interactionist school of thought and is best known for defining white-collar crime and differential association, a general theory of crime and delinquency. Sutherland earned his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1913.

# 4
Jock Young

1942 - 2013 (71 years)

#39021 person's overall influence

Jock Young was a British sociologist and an influential criminologist.

Lawrence W. Sherman
# 5
Lawrence W. Sherman

1949 - Present (71 years)

#21693 person's overall influence

Lawrence W. Sherman was born in 1949 in Schenectady, New York. He graduated from Denison University with a B.A. in political science, before earning his M.A. in social science from the University of Chicago. He went on to earn his diploma in criminology from Cambridge University and his M.A. and Ph.D in sociology from Yale University.

Travis Hirschi
# 6
Travis Hirschi

1935 - 2017 (82 years)

#19292 person's overall influence

Travis Warner Hirschi was an American sociologist and an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Arizona. He helped to develop the modern version of the social control theory of crime and later the self-control theory of crime.

Stanley Cohen
# 7
Stanley Cohen

1942 - 2013 (71 years)

#16987 person's overall influence

Stanley Cohen was a sociologist and criminologist, Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, known for breaking academic ground on "emotional management", including the mismanagement of emotions in the form of sentimentality, overreaction, and emotional denial. He had a lifelong concern with human rights violations, first growing up in South Africa, later studying imprisonment in England and finally in Palestine. He founded the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics.

# 8
Thorsten Sellin

1896 - 1994 (98 years)

#79516 person's overall influence

Johan Thorsten Sellin was a Swedish American sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, a penologist and one of the pioneers of scientific criminology.

# 9
Clifford Robe Shaw

1895 - 1957 (62 years)

#76533 person's overall influence

Clifford Robe Shaw was an American sociologist and criminologist. He was a major figure in the Chicago School of sociology during the 1930s and 1940s, and is considered to be one of the most influential figures in American criminology. His work on juvenile delinquency with Henry D. McKay, conducted in the late 1920s, played a pivotal role in moving the study of such delinquency toward the discipline of sociology, and away from psychology and psychiatry. Shaw and McKay's work spanned three general areas: studying geographic variation in rates of juvenile delinquency, the study of autobiographi

Zebulon Brockway
# 10
Zebulon Brockway

1827 - 1920 (93 years)

#19738 person's overall influence

Zebulon Reed Brockway was a penologist and is sometimes regarded as the "Father of prison reform" and "Father of American Parole" in the United States.

Alphonse Bertillon
# 11
Alphonse Bertillon

1853 - 1914 (61 years)

#10424 person's overall influence

Alphonse Bertillon was a French police officer and biometrics researcher who applied the anthropological technique of anthropometry to law enforcement creating an identification system based on physical measurements. Anthropometry was the first scientific system used by police to identify criminals. Before that time, criminals could only be identified by name or photograph. The method was eventually supplanted by fingerprinting.

# 12
Lloyd Ohlin

1918 - 2008 (90 years)

#47735 person's overall influence

Lloyd Edgar Ohlin was an American sociologist and criminologist who taught at Harvard Law School, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago over his career where he studied the causes and effects of crime and punishment, especially as it related to youthful offenders and delinquents.

David Weisburd
# 13
David Weisburd

1954 - Present (66 years)

#126910 person's overall influence

David Weisburd was born in 1954 in Brooklyn, New York. He received his B.A. from Brandeis University, and an M.A., an M.Phil, and a Ph.D in sociology from Yale University. Weisburd currently hold joint appointments as the Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law in Jerusalem, Executive Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, and Distinguished Professor at George Mason University.

Jerzy Sarnecki
# 14
Jerzy Sarnecki

1947 - Present (73 years)

#47515 person's overall influence

Jerzy Sarnecki is a professor of criminology at Stockholm University. He studied geodesy as an undergraduate before earning a Ph.D. in sociology from Stockholm University. During his schooling, he worked at youth recreation centres, which led to his later work as a researcher of juvenile delinquency for the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.

# 15
James Q. Wilson

1931 - 2012 (81 years)

#5814 person's overall influence

James Quinn Wilson was an American conservative academic, political scientist, and an authority on public administration. Most of his career was spent as a professor at UCLA and Harvard University. He was the chairman of the Council of Academic Advisors of the American Enterprise Institute, member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board , and the President's Council on Bioethics. He was Director of Joint Center for Urban Studies at Harvard-MIT.

# 16
Albert K. Cohen

1918 - 2014 (96 years)

#22643 person's overall influence

Albert K. Cohen was a prominent American criminologist. He is known for his Subcultural Theory of delinquent urban gangs, including his influential book Delinquent Boys: Culture of the Gang. He has served as Vice President of the American Society of Criminology from 1984–1985 and in 1993 he received the society's Edwin H. Sutherland award.

# 17
Stuart Henry

1949 - Present (71 years)

#104410 person's overall influence

Stuart Henry is Professor Emeritus, Criminal justice and former Director of the School of Public Affairs, San Diego State University . He has also been Visiting Professor of Criminology at the University of Kent's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research from 2008–2013 and Visiting Research Scholar in Sociology at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, 2017.

Robert Ezra Park
# 18
Robert Ezra Park

1864 - 1944 (80 years)

#1875 person's overall influence

Robert Ezra Park was an American urban sociologist who is considered to be one of the most influential figures in early U.S. sociology. Park was a pioneer in the field of sociology, changing it from a passive philosophical discipline to an active discipline rooted in the study of human behavior. He made significant contributions to the study of urban communities, race relations and the development of empirically grounded research methods, most notably participant observation. From 1905 to 1914, Park worked with Booker T. Washington at the Tuskegee Institute. After Tuskegee, he taught at the

Ernest Burgess
# 19
Ernest Burgess

1886 - 1966 (80 years)

#12301 person's overall influence

Ernest Watson Burgess was a Canadian-American urban sociologist born in Tilbury, Ontario. He was educated at Kingfisher College in Oklahoma and continued graduate studies in sociology at the University of Chicago. In 1916, he returned to the University of Chicago, as a faculty member. Burgess was hired as an urban sociologist at the University of Chicago. Burgess also served as the 24th President of the American Sociological Association .

Christopher Uggen
# 20
Christopher Uggen

1964 - Present (56 years)

#106686 person's overall influence

Christopher Uggen was born in 1964. He earned his PhD from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1995. Uggen has been a prominent sociologist and criminologist for decades and served as University of Minnesota Sociology Department chair from 2006-2012.

Adolphe Quetelet
# 21
Adolphe Quetelet

1796 - 1874 (78 years)

#2258 person's overall influence

Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet FRSFor FRSE was a Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician and sociologist who founded and directed the Brussels Observatory and was influential in introducing statistical methods to the social sciences. His name is sometimes spelled with an accent as Quételet.

# 22
David Matza

1930 - 2018 (88 years)

#45203 person's overall influence

David Matza was an American sociologist who taught at University of California, Berkeley from 1961.

# 23
Joan Petersilia

1951 - 2019 (68 years)

#99025 person's overall influence

Joan Ramme Petersilia was an American criminologist and the Adelbert H. Sweet Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, as well as the faculty co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.

Paul Rock
# 24
Paul Rock

1943 - Present (77 years)

#148170 person's overall influence

Paul Rock is an Emeritus Professor of Social Institutions at the London School of Economics, and a founder and member of the National Deviancy Conference. He earned his first degree at the London School of Economics before earning a D.Phil. from Nuffield College at the University of Oxford. His dissertation explored the morality of a career in debt collection.

# 25
Mike Sutton

1959 - Present (61 years)

#96853 person's overall influence

Michael Robert Sutton is an ex-reader in criminology in the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University, where he established the now defunct Centre for Study and Reduction of Bias, Prejudice and Hate Crime and is co-founder and chief editor of the Internet Journal of Criminology. He was joint winner of the 1998 British Journal of Criminology Prize for his research on hackers, and publicised the market reduction approach for tackling theft. Sutton has published journal articles on the subject of inter-racial relationships and violence.

# 26
Ian Taylor

1944 - 2001 (57 years)

#96012 person's overall influence

Ian Taylor was a British sociologist. He was born in Sheffield.

# 27
Hans Gross

1847 - 1915 (68 years)

#80955 person's overall influence

Hans Gustav Adolf Gross or Groß was an Austrian criminal jurist and criminologist, the "Founding Father" of criminal profiling. A criminal jurist, Gross made a mark as the creator of the field of criminality. Throughout his life, Hans Gross made significant contributions to the realm of scientific criminology. As Gross developed in his career as an examining justice, he noticed the failings of the field of law. His book, classes, institutions, and methods helped improve the justice system through his experience as a justice.

Richard Rosenfeld
# 28
Richard Rosenfeld

1948 - Present (72 years)

#70022 person's overall influence

Richard Rosenfeld was born in 1948. He earned his B.A. and his Ph.D in sociology from the University of Oregon. He has been honored by his colleagues on several occasions. He was selected as a Fulbright Scholar in 2016 and received the Edwin H. Sutherland Award from the American Society of Criminology in 2017.

Lonnie Athens
# 29
Lonnie Athens

1949 - Present (71 years)

#107761 person's overall influence

Lonnie Athens was born in Richmond, Virginia. He earned a B.S. from Virginia Tech, an M.S. from University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a D.Crim from the University of California at Berkeley.

# 30
Gresham Sykes

1922 - 2010 (88 years)

#58958 person's overall influence

Gresham M'Cready Sykes was an American sociologist and criminologist. He earned a Bachelor of Arts at Princeton University and a Ph. D. at Northwestern University. He taught at Princeton, Dartmouth, and Northwestern prior to becoming sociology professor at the University of Virginia. Sykes's study of New Jersey State Prison has been described as a pioneering look at the issues faced by guards, as well as the pains of imprisonment encountered by inmates . His most famous work is The Society of Captives, which is sometimes considered the first work in the genre of prison sociology. He coauthore...

# 31
Malcolm W. Klein

1930 - Present (90 years)

#117933 person's overall influence

Malcolm Klein is a criminologist, researcher, theorist, retired professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California, and the author of his book The American Street Gang. In addition, he continued to publish eighteen other books and more than fifty articles that are based on his research on gangs.

Gary Becker
# 32
Gary Becker

1930 - 2014 (84 years)

#595 person's overall influence

Gary Stanley Becker was an American economist who received the 1992 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He was a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago, and was a leader of the third generation of the Chicago school of economics.

Kevin Beaver
# 33
Kevin Beaver

1977 - Present (43 years)

#93586 person's overall influence

Kevin Beaver is the Judith Rich Harris Professor of Criminology at Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, director of the FSU Distance Learning Program, the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Drug Issues, and an expert in biosocial criminology. He earned a B.A. in sociology from Ohio University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati.

# 34
Leon Radzinowicz

1906 - 1999 (93 years)

#76715 person's overall influence

Sir Leon Radzinowicz, was a criminologist and academic. He was the founding director of the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge.

Michael Tonry
# 35
Michael Tonry

1945 - Present (75 years)

#54561 person's overall influence

Michael Tonry was born in 1945 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. He earned his B.A. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, before going on to graduate with an L.L.B. from Yale Law School.

# 36
Otto Pollak

1908 - 1998 (90 years)

#156813 person's overall influence

Otto Pollak was a writer and a professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

# 37
Joan McCord

1930 - 2004 (74 years)

#124986 person's overall influence

Joan Fish McCord was an American professor of Criminology at Temple University and a recipient of an ASC Award.

David Wilson
# 38
David Wilson

1956 - Present (64 years)

#100741 person's overall influence

David Wilson is a professor emeritus of criminology at Birmingham City University. He studied at the University of Glasgow and Selwyn College at Cambridge before earning his Ph.D. from the Cambridge Institute of Criminology.

# 39
Norval Morris

1923 - 2004 (81 years)

#61726 person's overall influence

Norval Ramsden Morris was an Australian-educated United States law professor, criminologist, and advocate for criminal justice and mental health reform, and a former Dean of the University of Chicago Law School.

# 40
Song Ci

1188 - 1249 (61 years)

#6674 person's overall influence

Song Ci was a Chinese physician, judge, forensic medical scientist, anthropologist, and writer of the Southern Song dynasty. He was the first known anthropologist who wrote a groundbreaking book titled Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified .

Michael R. Gottfredson
# 41
Michael R. Gottfredson

1951 - Present (69 years)

#36674 person's overall influence

Michael Ryan Gottfredson is the former President of the University of Oregon, serving from August 1, 2012 to August 6, 2014.

# 42
Eleanor Glueck

1898 - 1972 (74 years)

#180748 person's overall influence

Eleanor Touroff Glueck was an American social worker and criminologist. She and her husband Sheldon Glueck collaborated extensively on research related to juvenile delinquency and developed the "Social Prediction Tables" model for predicting the likelihood of delinquent behavior in youth. They were the first criminologists to perform studies of chronic juvenile offenders and among the first to examine the effects of psychopathy among the more serious delinquents.

# 43
Nicole Hahn Rafter

1939 - 2016 (77 years)

#158576 person's overall influence

Nicole Hahn Rafter was a feminist criminology professor at Northeastern University. She received her bachelor of arts degree from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, achieved her Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard University, and obtained a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from State University of New York in Albany. She began her career as a high school and college English professor and switched to criminal justice in her mid-thirties.

# 44
Sheldon Glueck

1896 - 1980 (84 years)

#134539 person's overall influence

Sheldon Glueck was a Polish-American criminologist. He and his wife Eleanor Glueck collaborated extensively on research related to juvenile delinquency and developed the "Social Prediction Tables" model for predicting the likelihood of delinquent behavior in youth. They were the first criminologists to perform studies of chronic juvenile offenders and among the first to examine the effects of psychopathy among the more serious delinquents.

Nicole Westmarland
# 45
Nicole Westmarland

1977 - Present (43 years)

#100332 person's overall influence

Nicole Westmarland is an activist and professor of criminology for Durham University. She is the organizer of the first North East Conference on Sexual Violence, which has been held annually since 2007 and now coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. She earned a B.Sc. in psychology and women’s studies from the University of Teesside, and an M.A. in women’s studies and a Ph.D. in social policy and social work from the University of York.

# 46
Gary Kleck

1951 - Present (69 years)

#20102 person's overall influence

Gary Kleck is a criminologist and the David J. Bordua Professor Emeritus of Criminology at Florida State University.

William Chambliss
# 47
William Chambliss

1933 - 2014 (81 years)

#166698 person's overall influence

William Joseph Chambliss was an American criminologist and sociologist. He was a professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at The George Washington University for over 20 years. He was a pioneer of the conflict theory which concluded, among other things, that conflict between different social classes is the fundamental force in capitalist societies. In addition to his transformative scholarly contributions, he was a teacher-scholar and mentor to many of today’s leading criminologists and sociologists.

David P. Farrington
# 48
David P. Farrington
#197482 person's overall influence

David P. Farrington was born in 1944 in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England. He earned his B.A., M.A., and PhD in psychology from Cambridge University. Farrington has focused on the long-term development of criminal behavior. Most notably, he conducted a 24-year study of 411 boys in London, England. He has also explored interventions to prevent criminality, as well as how upbringing, geography, and socioeconomic status correlate to the development of criminal impulses or behaviors.

# 49
John Lea

1944 - Present (76 years)

#201695 person's overall influence

John Lea is a British left realist criminologist. For many years he was based at the Centre for Criminology and the Crime and Conflict Research Centre, Middlesex University in the United Kingdom.

# 50
Marvin Wolfgang

1924 - 1998 (74 years)

#126959 person's overall influence

Marvin Eugene Wolfgang was an American sociologist and criminologist.