A group of professional criminologists is challenging Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey’s credentials as a “career criminologist,” saying she’s a politician taking one-sided, tough-on-crime positions to get elected governor, the Boston Globe reports. “Many criminologists are offended that she is using that authority to advance a campaign that is so out of line with justice, where a defense attorney can’t be a good leader and you have to be either for victims or against them,” said James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminal justice professor.
Fox has asked more than 100 fellow members of the American Society of Criminology asking them to form a group called Massachusetts Criminologists for Justice, to raise concerns about Healey’s “platform and her approach.” Dozens agreed to join, he said. Healey’s campaign manager, Tim O’Brien, called the broadside a politically motivated attack by “theorists who think it’s OK to release criminals back into society.” Several criminal justice professors said Healey’s views on the death penalty, victims’ rights, witness intimidation, and other crime issues are not supported by scientific evidence and research. For example, she has said the death penalty would deter crime; the academics say the evidence is mixed on that point. In fact, Healey worked as a consultant for Abt Associates, which conducted research for the Justice Department. Her work mostly involved compiling the research of others.