News Release

University of Cincinnati professor receives Stockholm Prize in Criminology

Francis Cullen recognized for dedication of criminal rehabilitation research and policy reform.

Grant and Award Announcement

University of Cincinnati

Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus Dr. Francis T. Cullen

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Credit: University of Cincinnati

The international jury of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology has recognized the University of Cincinnati's Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus Dr. Francis T. Cullen for his evidence-based research that demonstrates the value of rehabilitation services linked to criminal sentencing.

The Stockholm Prize in Criminology is the most prestigious award given to professionals who have dedicated themselves to criminological research that has impacted the world in reducing crime and advancing human rights. Professionals who have received this prize are selected by an international jury of esteemed and established practitioners and criminologists across the globe.

“The Stockholm Prize is one of those awards that a scholar can only hope to receive one day. It is the greatest gift a criminologist can receive… I am honored to receive this award for reaffirming rehabilitation today, and I hope that my passion for criminology and my commitment to science have made a difference,” says Cullen, a professor emeritus who still actively teaches in UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services.  

Cullen's research shows that science-based interventions with justice-involved individuals can prevent recidivism, giving an offender a chance to become a law-abiding citizen and promoting public safety. Cullen’s classic 1982 book, "Reaffirming Rehabilitation", was an important rebuttal to claims that “nothing works” to change offenders and to efforts to reduce treatment services in several states and the United Kingdom. His work endorses efforts within prisons and other correctional settings that seek to decrease repeat offending through positive programs that encourage better decision making. His meta-analytic research, conducted with current and former students, demonstrates that prison sentences have little deterrent effect on reoffending. He now terms the “null effect” of custodial sanctions a “criminological fact.”

Cullen is also one of the few individuals who has served as president of two of the world's largest and prominent criminology organizations, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences from 1993-1994 and the American Society of Criminology from 2003-2004. He has published more than 400 works, which have been cited more than 64,000 times. He joined the UC faculty in 1982.

Among those who celebrate and acknowledge Cullen for this well-deserved acknowledgment is current interim school director, J.C. Barnes. "This is a remarkable achievement - indeed, it is the highest prize in criminology. Dr. Cullen is richly deserving of the honor. He is a giant in the field, and this international prize serves to underline the importance of his contributions to offender rehabilitation and the organization of knowledge. It is because of people like Dr. Cullen that the University of Cincinnati's School of Criminal Justice is a recognized leader in criminal justice."

UC’s School of Criminal Justice is ranked among the Top 5 in the country, and the only one to have a Stockholm Prize winner on faculty, says Barnes.

The Stockholm Criminology Symposium will take place on June 13-15, 2022.

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