Different members of the group lead or take responsibility for assorted functions; for example, lead author on a conference paper, or academic article, research proposal, program assessment, mentoring students or junior faculty, or media contact. Ideally, the lead person invites one or more Convict Criminology colleagues to share the work and through this process attempts to generalize the discussion, and socialize the membership into the norms of academia.
The group continues to grow as more prisoners exit prison to attend universities, hear about the group, and decide to contribute to activities. Typically, new members resolve to "come out" when they are introduced to the academic community at the American Society of Criminology (ASC) or the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) conferences.
The group does not exclude or discriminate by criminal offense. The general premise is that when a person completes their sentence they have paid for their crime, any crime. The group is not limited to students and faculty who research or teach in Criminology, Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Social Work. Convict Criminology may also include ex-cons or "non-cons" who work outside of academia, including government agencies, private foundations, or community groups.
Finally, there is a growing group of men and women behind bars who hold advanced degrees and publish academic work about crime and corrections (i.e., Rideau & Wikberg, 1992; Hassine, 2004; Paluch, 2004; K.C. Carceral, 2004, 2006). At the present time, the Convict Criminology group includes men and women ex-con academics from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Finland. The U.S., with the largest prison population in the world, continues to contribute the most members.
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