After leaving prison, some ex-convicts are becoming academics themselves. There is a growing convict criminology group, which has members in countries around the world.
…Stephen Richards spent nine years in prison for conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and is now professor emeritus of criminology at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh.
He was arrested while he was a college student, and finished his degree by correspondence while in U.S. federal prison. After he was released from prison, he went directly to graduate school and completed a Master’s degree and a PhD.
“Five years out of prison, I was a professor, and I became one of the first convict criminology professors,” he says.
Richards’s experiences in jail made him want to work to fix the system once he got out.
“Part of being a convict criminologist is realizing that you know something that most academics in the social sciences don’t know. You’ve got inside information about what’s wrong with the criminal justice system — literally, inside. You know what a failure the system is, and you want to do something about it,” he says.