William R Kelly


William R Kelly
Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts

Phone: +1 512 232 4142
Email: wkelly@austin.utexas.edu

Media Rep Contact

Rachel Griess (primary)
512-471-2689
email

David Ochsner (primary)
512-475-9712
email

 
 

William R. Kelly is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Criminology and Criminal Justice Research at the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught and conducted research in criminology and criminal justice for over twenty-five years and has published extensively on a variety of justice matters. Dr. Kelly has considerable experience developing, implementing and evaluating a wide variety of criminal justice programs and policies. Much of his evaluation research has focused on diversion programs, such as problem solving courts and probation interventions, as well as behavioral health programs in the justice system, including substance abuse and mental health service delivery.

Dr. Kelly's consulting work spans local, state and federal governments and has given him the opportunity to collaborate with a large number of justice agencies including law enforcement, probation departments, prisons and jails, state and federal prosecutors, judges, the defense bar, the court system, problem solving courts, parole agencies, and a variety of criminal justice service providers. He has provided expert advice and counsel on big picture justice policy issues as well as the design, implementation, operation and evaluation of very specific justice programs and initiatives.

He recently finished the first of three books on reforming the American criminal justice system. "Criminal Justice at the Crossroads: Transforming Crime and Punishment" was published by Columbia University Press in May of 2015. Justice at the Crossroads, a book tailored to researchers, practitioners, lawyers and policy makers looks at the past forty years of American criminal justice policy and concludes that the primary focus on punishment has been a phenomenal and costly failure. However, unlike most other books on this topic, Crossroads then maps out the path forward to the effective reduction of crime, recidivism and cost.

The second book, "The Future of Crime and Punishment: Smart Policies for Reducing Crime and Saving Money" will be published by Rowman and Littlefield July 2016. It has been written for individuals interested in public safety, crime, punishment, public policy, government spending, human behavior, and behavioral change. The Future of Crime and Punishment reviews the recent history of justice policy then addresses a number of key issues, including the causes and correlates of crime and recidivism, scientifically validated strategies for behavioral change, alternatives to traditional prosecution and sentencing, how to more effectively use prisons, how to address the crime trifecta of guns, gangs and drugs, key problems and solutions in juvenile justice, and lessons learned from justice policies in other nations. The Future of Crime and Punishment also presents a considerable amount of new material not covered in Crossroads.

The third book, currently untitled, is being written in collaboration with Dr. William Streusand, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and the Hon. Robert Pitman, a former United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas and currently a federal District Judge in that district. This work will focus on criminal responsibility or culpability of criminal offenders. In general terms, the law requires two things in order to convict someone of a crime - actus reus, the criminal act and mens rea, criminal intent. Our goal is to provide a through and examination of criminal responsibility or criminal intent in the context of psychiatric, psychological, and neurodevelopmental considerations. The guiding question is can we and should we hold responsible or culpable mentally ill offenders or those with significant neurodevelopmental or neurobiological deficits and impairments? What about youthful offenders who have impairments to executive functioning due to underdevelopment of the frontal lobe of the brain? We will investigate these issues from the psychiatric/neurobiological perspective, the legal and statutory perspective, and the criminological, policy perspective.

Media Rep Contact

Rachel Griess (primary)
512-471-2689
email

David Ochsner (primary)
512-475-9712
email