James Q. Wilson: "Crime and Criminologists" (1974)

One of the most prolific writers on crime and criminal behavior in the twentieth century—James Q. Wilson—rose to national prominence in the 1970s by making controversial proclamations against the liberal tradition of “curing root causes of crime.” Wilson famously debunked commonly held assumptions about lower class, crime-prone youth by presenting pointed critiques of criminological theorists of the 1960s. Ultimately, Wilson’s intellectual and political popularity demonstrated the receptiveness and deference that national policymakers and American citizens had toward public intellectual thought in the 1970s. Furthermore, Wilson’s ideas shed light on a host of public policy related challenges (in regards to criminal justice reform) that profoundly transformed traditional academic attitudes toward crime, urban violence, and policing throughout the decade.