In Memoriam: Jerome Skolnick

Jerome Skolnick, an expert in criminal justice and sociology who co-directed NYU Law’s Center for Research in Crime and Justice, died on February 22 at age 92. Skolnick joined NYU Law as an adjunct professor after retiring from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where he was Claire Clements Dean’s Chair Emeritus.

Jerome Skolnick
Jerome Skolnick

Skolnick’s extensive and influential list of publications included several books on policing: the award-winning Justice without Trial: Law Enforcement in Democratic Society; The New Blue Line: A Study of Police Innovation in Six American Cities, with David Bayley; and Above the Law: Police and Excessive Use of Police Force, with James P. Fyfe. He also co-authored several textbooks and published articles in a range of academic journals. Skolnick’s awards included Carnegie, Guggenheim and National Science Foundation fellowships, the American Society of Criminology’s August Volmer Award, and prizes for distinguished scholarship from the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Western Society of Criminology.

A 2013 Hoffinger Criminal Justice Forum was devoted to celebrating Skolnick’s life and work. His former student Frank Zimring, now William G. Simon Professor of Law Emeritus at Berkeley, said of Skolnick: “He has taught social scientists the importance of law, and lawyers the insights and methods of social science…. Skolnick’s work on the issues that compelled him was serious and difficult work, but his engagement with it was always both joyful and optimistic. You never saw Jerry start a book he wasn’t sure he was going to finish, and that he wasn’t sure wasn’t going to change the world in a positive fashion. To learn from Skolnick was always to be exposed to the joy of sociology.”

Posted March 28, 2024