Beto Chair Lecture: Dr. Scott Decker

Beto Chair Lecture Series

Wed, Nov 28, 2012
9:30 - 11:00 A.M.
Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom

Dr. Scott H. Decker, a Foundation Professor and Director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, will present “Life Course Perspectives on Gang Membership: Walter Miller and the Lost Gang Project” as part of the Beto Chair Lecture series on Nov. 28.

Dr. Scott Decker
Dr. Scott Decker
Dr. Decker, a leading gang researcher, will discuss his latest study updating the first nationally funded gang outreach project in Roxbury, Massachusetts in the 1950s. Led by cultural anthropologist Walter Miller, the project chronicled the day-to-day experiences of nearly 500 gang members in a neighborhood a few miles south of Fenway.

In addition to publishing the results of Miller’s initial study in an online book titled City Gangs, Dr. Decker and two Arizona State University faculty members received a grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a follow-up study on the gang members. The study involves collecting and analyzing criminal records and conducting interviews with some of the gang members to gain a better understanding of how joining and leaving a gang influenced their life course behaviors, including marriage, college careers, and crime.

Walter Miller
Dr. Walter Miller
The project also will analyze contact cards from social workers to see how the gang members’ social networks influenced their actions.

Dr. Decker’s research interests include criminal justice policy, gangs, violence, and juvenile justice. He is the author or co-author of 15 books, including Life in the Gang: Family, Friends and Violence and Strategies to Address Gang Crime. His most recent book, Criminology and Public Policy: Putting Theory to Work, was published in 2010. He also has produced more than 150 research articles.

Front cover of Life in a Gang Book.Dr. Decker recently was invited to speak to national leaders during a White Houston conference on gang violence prevention and control. Among those in attendance were U .S. Attorney General Eric Holder; Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Justice Department officials; directors of several prominent gang prevention programs; and police chiefs and mayors.

This year, The American Society of Criminology (ASC) awarded Dr. Decker the title of "Fellow" for his scholarly contribution to the intellectual life of the discipline and his substantial role in the career development of other criminologists. Dr. Decker is also a fellow in the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), where he earned the Bruce Smith Jr. Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to criminal justice as an academic or professional endeavor.

Front Cover of Policing Gangs bookThree of Dr. Decker’s books have won major awards in the criminal justice field, including recognition by the ACJS, the ASC’s Division of International Criminology, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Crime and Delinquency Division. Dr. Decker was also recently honored by the Emerald Literati Network for research on gangs and received the Highly Commended Paper Award in 2012.

Dr. Decker has served on the editorial boards of many major criminal justice publications, including Criminal Justice Review, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, the Journal of Criminal Justice, Criminology, and Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, and he has participated in more than 100 panels at major conferences.

Dr. Decker earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminology from Florida State University and his B.A. from DePauw University in Indiana. He previously taught at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Indiana University-Purdue University, Ft. Wayne.

Member of The Texas State University System