John Irwin

Crime Becomes a Political Focus When More Important Issues Are Too Difficult For the Electorate to Face

John Keith Irwin (May 21, 1929 – January 3, 2010)

was an American sociologist and criminologist who was known internationally as an expert on the American prison system.[1] He published dozens of scholarly articles and seven books on the topic.


Early Life and Education


In 1952, Irwin robbed a gas station and served a five year prison term for armed robbery in Soledad Prison.[2] During his time in prison he earned 24 college credits through a university extension program. After his release from prison he received a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and then earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from theUniversity of California, Berkeley. Irwin later became a professor at San Francisco State University, where he taught for 27 years until his retirement.




Hyde's popular works of scholarship, including the books The Gift (1983) and Trickster Makes this World (1998) have been widely praised by fiction writers, including Margaret AtwoodMichael ChabonJonathan Lethem and David Foster Wallace.[2][citation needed] Robert Darnton in The New York Times called Hyde's latest book, Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership ( Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010), "an eloquent and erudite plea for protecting our cultural patrimony from appropriation by commercial interests.


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