August 24, 2011

Criminology faculty, alumni reunite in Japan

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The 16th World Congress of the International Society for Criminology, meeting in Kobe, Japan, was something of a reunion for current faculty and recent alumni from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

SIUC criminology and criminal justice faculty -- Kimberly Leonard, formerly chair of the department and now dean of the SIUC College of Liberal Arts; and associate professors George Burruss and Christopher Mullins -- were part of a panel in honor of SIUC Distinguished Professor Elmer “Hue” Johnson.   A special issue of “International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice” dedicated to Johnson included the six papers presented by the panel.  Leonard and Keimi Harada, a lecturer at Meiji University in Japan, organized the panel.

Leonard said a highlight of the trip was reuniting with SIUC alumni in the Japanese Ministry of Justice.  The relationship between SIUC’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Ministry of Justice-Corrections Bureau in Japan dates to the mid-1960s.  Johnson was an integral part of promoting that relationship.  Each new graduate class of CCJ students at SIUC typically includes a student from Japan with ties to the Ministry of Justice there.  More than 90 such students have earned master’s degrees at SIUC.  Though Johnson retired from SIUC in 1987 as a Distinguished Professor, he continued to serve as an informal mentor to these students, Leonard said.

“It was a special treat for SIUC faculty to meet former students now with the Ministry of Justice,” she said.  “It feels good to know that the long-standing relationship between the SIUC department and the MOJ in Japan remains strong and continues to have a good impact.”

She noted, too, that the conference itself, with the special panel and the journal, serve as a fitting legacy to Distinguished Professor Johnson.  She thanked Carol Johnson, Elmer’s wife, for her assistance in getting the SIUC group to Japan.  The Johnsons have been generous to SIUC, establishing the Elmer H. Johnson Fund, an endowment designed to support activities that enhance the department, and an endowment to Morris Library for the purchase of books and journals in criminology and criminal justice.

For more information about the department, visit