Prof. Hadar Aviram has received the Western Society of Criminology’s June Morrison-Tom Gitchoff Founders Award for 2021, which honors a person who, through scholarship and/or activism, has significantly improved the quality of justice in the United States. The award acknowledges Aviram’s “profound influence on criminology and criminal justice.”
Aviram has been one of the nation’s leading voices against mass incarceration. Throughout the years of the Trump administration, she has been a frequent media commentator on the Mueller investigation, the false nexus between immigration and crime, and the return to punitive criminal justice policies at the federal level. She has also published and commented extensively on California criminal justice, including in her latest book, Yesterday’s Monsters: The Manson Family Cases and the Illusion of Parole.
In recent months, Aviram has advocated for incarcerated people in California facing illness and death due to COVID-19. She wrote a brief on behalf of the ACLU of Northern California and criminal justice scholars in In re Von Staich, the Court of Appeal decision ordering the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to reduce the population at San Quentin Prison to 50% capacity. She has also written articles and op-eds about the COVID-19 prison crisis.
Founded in 1973, the Western Society of Criminology is a regional professional society devoted to the scientific study of crime. Previous recipients of the Founders Award include Ramona Ripston of the ACLU of Southern California; Hon. Rose Bird of the California Supreme Court; Nobel Peace Prize recipient Rev. Desmond Tutu; Mimi Halper Silbert of Delancey Street; Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries; and Michael Bien, civil rights lawyer and name partner of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld in San Francisco.
“This award belongs to a large group of people – activists, lawyers, advocates, formerly incarcerated people, families whose loved ones are behind bars – for fighting daily to save lives in prison from COVID-19,” Aviram said. “It also belongs to the many academics, experts, and journalists who have spent the last four years working hard to inform the American public.”
Earlier this year Aviram won the UC Hastings Foundation Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship. The annual award from the Foundation Board of Trustees recognizes demonstrated scholarly production. She has published three books in the last five years and is working on a fourth, about COVID-19 in the California prison system.
“The fight to deliver aging and infirm people from illness and death is far from over,” she said.