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Who are the most influential thinkers in world?

Identify leaders in your chosen discipline, research top professors in your area of study, and search for schools based on the luminaries who most inspire you!

Note: These rankings change dynamically as our artificial intelligence system learns new things and incorporates new publications and citations. Academics are constantly doing research and publishing new insights, with the result that our measure of influence is subject to continual adjustments. For quality assurance reasons, however, we forgo real-time changes, with most public updates happening only quarterly. In any case, don’t be surprised to see our rankings change over time.

Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …

Gender designations here are based off data sourced from Wikidata.

About our data on gender

List of the most influential people in Criminal Justice, for the years 1970 – 2020

# 1
Jock Young

1942 - 2013 (71 years)

#39115 person's overall influence

Jock Young was a British sociologist and an influential criminologist.

Lawrence W. Sherman
# 2
Lawrence W. Sherman

1949 - Present (72 years)

#21660 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.

Stanley Cohen
# 3
Stanley Cohen

1942 - 2013 (71 years)

#17020 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.

# 4
Stuart Henry

1949 - Present (72 years)

#104842 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.

Travis Hirschi
# 5
Travis Hirschi

1935 - 2017 (82 years)

#19244 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.

David Weisburd
# 6
David Weisburd

1954 - Present (67 years)

#127253 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
# 7
Jerzy Sarnecki

1947 - Present (74 years)

#47549 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.

# 8
Thorsten Sellin

1896 - 1994 (98 years)

#79770 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
Albert K. Cohen

1918 - 2014 (96 years)

#22621 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.

# 10
Lloyd Ohlin

1918 - 2008 (90 years)

#47734 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.

# 11
James Q. Wilson

1931 - 2012 (81 years)

#5809 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.

# 12
Joan Petersilia

1951 - 2019 (68 years)

#99131 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.

Richard Rosenfeld
# 13
Richard Rosenfeld

1948 - Present (73 years)

#70072 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.

Kevin Beaver
# 14
Kevin Beaver

1977 - Present (44 years)

#93531 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.

# 15
Ian Taylor

1944 - 2001 (57 years)

#95913 person's overall influence

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

# 16
Otto Pollak

1908 - 1998 (90 years)

#156413 person's overall influence

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

# 17
Mike Sutton

1959 - Present (62 years)

#96790 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.

David Wilson
# 18
David Wilson

1956 - Present (65 years)

#100857 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.

Michael Tonry
# 19
Michael Tonry

1945 - Present (76 years)

#54781 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.

Nicole Westmarland
# 20
Nicole Westmarland

1977 - Present (44 years)

#100512 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.

# 21
Joan McCord

1930 - 2004 (74 years)

#125344 person's overall influence

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

William Chambliss
# 22
William Chambliss

1933 - 2014 (81 years)

#166978 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.

# 23
Gary Kleck

1951 - Present (70 years)

#20181 person's overall influence

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

# 24
John Lea

1944 - Present (77 years)

#202072 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.

Michael R. Gottfredson
# 25
Michael R. Gottfredson

1951 - Present (70 years)

#36425 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.

Frank Schmalleger
# 26
Frank Schmalleger

1947 - Present (74 years)

#171473 person's overall influence

Frank Schmalleger was born in 1947. He earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D in sociology from Ohio State University, with a concentration in criminology.

David P. Farrington
# 27
David P. Farrington
#198017 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.

# 28
Norval Morris

1923 - 2004 (81 years)

#62011 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.

# 29
Nicole Hahn Rafter

1939 - 2016 (77 years)

#158975 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.

Scott Decker
# 30
Scott Decker

1950 - Present (71 years)

#277287 person's overall influence

Scott Decker is the Foundation Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University and researcher in criminology. He earned a B.A. from DePauw University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Florida State University.

Lorraine Mazerolle
# 31
Lorraine Mazerolle

1964 - Present (57 years)

#387100 person's overall influence

Lorraine Mazerolle is chief investigator for the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Experimental Criminology, affiliate professor at the Institute for Social Science Research, and professor at the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland. She earned a Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

Biko Agozino
# 32
Biko Agozino

1961 - Present (60 years)

#321251 person's overall influence

Biko Agozino is a Nigerian criminologist and author, and a founding member of the International governing council of the Centre for Democracy and Development in Lagos, Nigeria, and the criminology unit coordinator and professor of sociology at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. He earned a B.Sc. in sociology from the University of Calabar, an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Edinburgh.

Anthony Walsh
# 33
Anthony Walsh

1941 - Present (80 years)

#125392 person's overall influence

Anthony Walsh is a former law enforcement officer and professor at Boise State University. He earned a B.A. in sociology from Eastern Michigan University, an M.A. in medical sociology from the University of Toledo, and a Ph.D. in criminology from Bowling Green State University.

Henry Lee
# 34
Henry Lee

1938 - Present (83 years)

#27098 person's overall influence

Henry Lee is regarded as one of the most influential forensic scientists in the world. He is the founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven. He earned a degree in Police Science from Central Police College in Taiwan. He became the youngest police captain in Taiwanese history at the age of 22.

# 35
Roger Matthews

1948 - 2020 (72 years)

#193507 person's overall influence

Roger Matthews , was a British criminologist. He was a Professor of Criminology at the University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom. Prior to joining the University of Kent, he was a professor of criminology at London South Bank University and Middlesex University.

Paul Rock
# 36
Paul Rock

1943 - Present (78 years)

#148691 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.

Daniel Nagin
# 37
Daniel Nagin

1948 - Present (73 years)

#78431 person's overall influence

Daniel Nagin is the Teresa H. John Heinz III University Professor of Public Policy and Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, a statistician and criminologist. He earned a B.S. in administrative and managerial sciences and an M.S. in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Ph.D. from Heinz College.

# 38
David Matza

1930 - 2018 (88 years)

#45311 person's overall influence

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

Gary Becker
# 39
Gary Becker

1930 - 2014 (84 years)

#593 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.

# 40
John Braithwaite

1951 - Present (70 years)

#140821 person's overall influence

John Braithwaite was born in 1951 in Ipswich, Australia. He earned his B.A. and Ph.D from the University of Queensland.

Shaun L. Gabbidon
# 41
Shaun L. Gabbidon

1967 - Present (54 years)

#125535 person's overall influence

Shaun L. Gabbidon was born in England. He earned a Ph.D in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

# 42
Marvin Wolfgang

1924 - 1998 (74 years)

#127060 person's overall influence

Marvin Eugene Wolfgang was an American sociologist and criminologist.

Lonnie Athens
# 43
Lonnie Athens

1949 - Present (72 years)

#107645 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.

# 44
Jerome G. Miller

1931 - 2015 (84 years)

#284887 person's overall influence

Jerome Gilbert Miller was an American social worker, academic and public sector corrections administrator, who was an authority on the reform of juvenile and adult corrections systems. He was a prominent advocate for alternatives to incarceration for offenders as well as for the de-institutionalization of individuals with developmental disabilities. His career involved university teaching, administration of juvenile justice services for three states, clinical work with offenders and advocacy for systemic change in public sector correctional services. Miller's work first drew national atten

# 45
Una Padel

1956 - 2006 (50 years)

#204076 person's overall influence

Una Padel OBE was a British criminal-justice reformer, known for her work in penal reform. She was the director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies from 1999 until her death in 2006, after which the centre established the Una Padel Award.

# 46
Rod Morgan

1942 - Present (79 years)

#475480 person's overall influence

Rodney Emrys Morgan is Professor Emeritus, University of Bristol and Visiting Professor at the University of Sussex. He is the former chair of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales and prior to that was HM Chief Inspector of Probation for England and Wales .

Christopher Uggen
# 47
Christopher Uggen

1964 - Present (57 years)

#107204 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.

# 48
James B. Jacobs

1947 - 2020 (73 years)

#81674 person's overall influence

James Barrett Jacobs was the Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts at New York University School of Law, where he was a faculty member since 1982. He was a specialist in criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal justice.

# 49
Barry Latzer

1945 - Present (76 years)

#217739 person's overall influence

Barry Latzer is an American criminologist and emeritus professor of criminal justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He previously taught at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He also prosecuted and defended accused criminals while teaching both there and at John Jay. In 2016, his book The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America was published by Encounter Books. He is an expert on core curricula and a supporter of capital punishment.

Alex Piquero
# 50
Alex Piquero

1970 - Present (51 years)

#192679 person's overall influence

Alex Piquero is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Arts & Sciences Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami. Piquero additionally holds several other academic appointments including: Professor of Criminology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia; Adjunct Professor in the Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University; Life Course Centre Fellow, University of Queensland; and Fellow of the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute. Prior to joining the University of Miami, Piquero was the Ashbel Smith Professor of Criminology and Associate Dean for Gr