Walter C. Reckless-Simon Dinitz Memorial Lecture
Walter Cade Reckless (1898-1988) was a pioneer in American criminology and corrections. Reared in Chicago and educated at the University of Chicago, he was "discovered" in graduate school by the distinguished sociologist, Robert Park, who helped stimulate Reckless's early studies of that city's crime and deviance (e.g., Vice in Chicago, 1931). In that same year, Reckless co-authored (with Mapheus Smith) the first text on juvenile delinquency and the second social psychology text ever published in the United States. During his career, he produced many other notable books, including: The Crime Problem (1950), a widely adopted text with six revised editions; and (with Simon Dinitz) The Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency: An Experiment (1972). Reckless's remarkable academic career spanned 16 years at Vanderbilt University and 30 years at Ohio State, where he retired in 1969. He continued his work during retirement, publishing many additional papers, reports and a final book (American Criminology: New Directions) in 1973. Some of his best known scholarly contributions include his formulation of containment theory and his research (with Simon Dinitz) on "good" and "bad" boys in high delinquency areas and the self-concept as an "insulator" against delinquency. He was also widely recognized for his numerous contributions to the professionalization of corrections (both adult and juvenile) and the juvenile court, which originated in Chicago one year after Reckless was born. Reckless was: an indefatigable world traveler; a consultant on crime prevention to the United Nations; president (three terms) of the American Society of Criminology and the Criminology Section of the American Sociological Association; and an inspiration and father figure to his students. In brief, Walter Reckless was a "world class" criminologist whose career at Ohio State serves as an exemplar in research, teaching, and public service.
Simon (Sy) Dinitz (1926-2007) was a native of New York City. He received his Bachelors degree from Vanderbilt University (1947), and his Master (1949) and Doctorate (1951) degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1951, he joined the faculty in Sociology at Ohio State University, retiring as Professor Emeritus 40 years later (1991). With Walter Reckless, Sy helped to establish a strong and lasting tradition in criminology at Ohio State. In addition to the works cited above, Sy authored or co-authored 15 additional books and over 130 articles. In turn he used his expertise to advise the State of Ohio, the nation, and world organizations (e.g., United Nations) on criminal justice and correctional policies. One of his most notable contributions to criminal justice was serving as Chair of the Governor's Select Committee on Corrections, following major riots at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Dinitz's contributions at Ohio State and to policymakers have not gone unnoticed. To the contrary, he amassed an array of awards, including all three of the University's top honors: the Distinguished Teaching Award (1970), the Distinguished Research Award (1979), and the Distinguished Service Award (1996). Dinitz served as President of the American Society of Criminology (1970-71), and received the Society's Edwin H. Sutherland Award (1974) for outstanding contributions to criminology. He also received the Academy of Criminal Justice Science's Bruce Smith Award for outstanding contributions to criminal justice. Numerous criminal justice agencies established awards in his honor, including the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. And his Ph.D. students published a book (The Mad, the Bad and the Different: Essays in Honor of Simon Dinitz) honoring his achievements. Overall, Simon Dinitz was: an outstanding scholar committed to scientific research on problems that matter greatly to society; a dedicated teacher who cared deeply about his students, their lives, and their families; and, a dedicated public servant who used his expertise to provide assistance to those "in the trenches" of dealing with the realities of human and criminal justice problems.