December 12, 2008
Professor Emeritus Lloyd E. Ohlin, an expert in criminal justice who was widely known for his academic work and public service, died on December 6, 2008, at the age of 90.
A sociologist by training, Ohlin’s work focused on the intersection of sociology and the criminal justice system. He joined the Harvard Law School faculty in 1967, and held the Roscoe Pound Professorship of Criminology and later the Touroff-Glueck Professorship of Criminal Justice, Emeritus. While at Harvard Law, Ohlin served as the research director of the Center for Criminal Justice. He retired from the HLS faculty in 1982.
“Lloyd Ohlin was one of the early participants in the interdisciplinary approach to legal education,” said Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan ’86. “During his time here, his students and colleagues gained invaluable insight into problems of crime and punishment, especially relating to juvenile offenders, thanks to his grounding in the fields of sociology and criminology. We are grateful that we had the benefit of his scholarship and his lifelong example of public service.”
Ohlin was the author of numerous articles published in professional journals and many books, including: Sociology and the Field of Corrections (1956), Delinquency and Opportunity (with Richard A. Cloward, 1960), A Theory of Correctional Reform (with Alden Miller and Robert Coates, 1977), Diversity in a Youth Correctional System: Handling Delinquents in Massachusetts (1978), Delinquency and Community (with Alden Miller, 1985), and Human Development and Criminal Behavior (with Michael Tonry and David F. Farrington, 1991).
Prior to joining the HLS faculty, Ohlin directed the work of the Center for Education and Research in Corrections at the University of Chicago and taught as a professor of sociology at the Columbia University School of Social Work from 1956-1967.
In addition to his academic work, Ohlin was a committed public servant. He served in the Army during World War II and during the Korean War as an expert consultant.
Ohlin worked as a sociologist for the Illinois Parole and Pardon Board from 1947-1953. And, on a leave of absence from Columbia University, he helped to direct a new federal program for the President’s Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime in 1961-1962. From 1965 to 1967, Ohlin served as associate director of the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice.
Ohlin was president of the American Society of Criminology in 1986, a Fellow in 1982, and recipient of the Edwin Sutherland Award in 1967. He also received the Bruce Smith, Jr. Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in 1992.
Ohlin earned his B.A. from Brown University, an M.A. in Sociology from Indiana University, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
After his retirement from Harvard Law School, Ohlin continued work on several projects, including the final report of a study he headed on the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice System. He also consulted for the National Institute of Justice and other foundations, from his oceanfront home in Maine and his home in Santa Barbara, California.