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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Filtering by Category: Events

Crime in Film/Media/Popular Culture Tweet Chat

Nickie Phillips

Join Intellect academic publishers on Thursday 7th August at 4.30pm BST/11:30am EST for a Tweet chat on the topic of Crime in Film/Media/Popular Culture.

You can chat @IntellectBooks and hashtag #IntellectChat

Some academics currently scheduled for the tweet chat are:

Louis Bayman completed his doctoral thesis on post-war Italian melodrama at King’s College, London, and is currently researching theoretical approaches to the social and aesthetic characteristics of popular cinema.

A contributor to Film International since 2005, Carl Freedman is the James F. Cassidy Professor of English at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge). He is the author of many books and articles, including, most recently, The Age of Nixon: A Study in Cultural Power (Zero Books, 2012).

Chris Richardson is a doctoral student in Media Studies at The University of Western Ontario. He received a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in 2007 and a Master of Arts in Popular Culture from Brock University in 2008. His work primarily focuses on intersections of popular culture, journalism and the construction of space/place. He has written on Bloc Party, Bret Easton Ellis and Kanye West, and is currently co-editing a collection on habitus and representations of ‘the hood’ with Hans A. Skott-Myhre of Brock University.

Live Stream - The Internet and Free Speech: A Preview of The Internet’s Own Boy Event

Nickie Phillips

The Paley Center will host The Internet and Free Speech: A Preview of the Internet's Own Boy.   The Live Stream will be held at 8:20 pm ET/5:20 pm PT.

For information and tickets to the live event in NYC, go here.

The Internet and Free Speech: A Preview of The Internet’s Own Boy

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 6:30 pm New York

...Variety has stated that the film “may be the most emotionally devastating movie ever made about hacking and the freedom of information....

The event will include:

Brian Knappenberger, Director Christopher Soghoian, Principal Technologist, Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, ACLU Jane Hamsher, Publisher, Moderator: Tim Wu, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Director, Program on Law & Technology, Columbia Law School

Go here for more information.

Lineage Project: Yoga and Meditation for At-Risk Youth

Nickie Phillips

The Lineage Project, in partnership with Laughing Lotus Yoga Center,  is hosting a raffle to increase their yoga and meditation classes for at-risk, court-involved and incarcerated youth.

Go here for more information.

The Lineage Project:

Through yoga, meditation, discussion and other mindfulness techniques, we help young people to value themselves and feel that they can make a lasting and important contribution to their communities.

We work in juvenile detention centers, alternative-to-incarceration programs and public schools for struggling students.

Tickets are only $10 each or 12 for $100. They can be purchased online or at the Front Desk at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center.

Please note: YogaTeesNYC is donating 10% of all sales to Lineage Project until the end of the raffle on June 22.



Kings Park Documentary Screening, NYC

Nickie Phillips

The NYC Mental Health Film Festival is screening Kings Park - May 18 2014

On June 21, 1967, at the age of 17, Lucy Winer was committed to the female violent ward of Kings Park State Hospital following a series of failed suicide attempts. Over 30 years later, now a veteran documentary filmmaker, Lucy returns to Kings Park for the first time since her discharge. Her journey back sparks a decade-long effort to face her past and learn the story of the now abandoned institution that once held her captive. Her meetings with other former patients, their families, and the hospital staff reveal the painful legacy of our state hospital system and the crisis left by its demise.

Sunday, May 18th, 2:00 pm
Q&A with filmmakers & cast
St. Francis College
Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY
Telephone: (212) 780-1400 x7726 

For more information, go to the 10th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival.

Pull of Gravity Screening, NYC

Nickie Phillips

Pull of Gravity-Documentary Trailer from Jon Kaufman on Vimeo.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of New York, the U.S. Department of Probation – Eastern District of New York, The Center for Court Innovation and St. Francis College are pleased to bring a screening of the documentary film PULL OF GRAVITY to Brooklyn, NY on May 5th. The film will be followed by a panel discussion with the film’s director and others involved in reintegration.

Monday May 5. 2014 St. Francis College 180 Remsen Street Brooklyn, NY 11201

Go here to RSVP and for more information.

Should There Be College Programs for Prisoners?

Nickie Phillips

St. Francis College will host a screening of the forthcoming HBO Documentary Sing-Sing University. The screening will be hosted by Sean Pica (Executive Director, Hudson Link Prison-Based Higher Education Initiative and graduate of the program) and will be followed by a Q&A with other graduates of the prison college programs featured in the film. The screening will be held at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 1.35.47 PM

A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House Museum

Nickie Phillips

John Kelvin Jones starts in A Christmas Carol at the Merchants Museum (photo:

Demetra M. Pappas, JD, MSc, PhD, Crimcast correspondent

In a time of economic inequality, the plight of the Cratchit family seems particularly poignant in New York City.

For some, the holiday season is about parties; for others, it is about the seasonal performances. Given that I would not have made a clever criminal, I will admit to having been known to enjoy both.  That said, this particular year, I have been performance focused, since my new knee, only two months old after total knee replacement, has not been deemed suitable for partying. (Actually, I quipped to a friend that my knee was probably suited to such occasions, but I had the sort of concern about brushes with others walking while drinking that I usually reserve to New Year's Eve drivers-- no judgment, just a healthy fear of testing the fall-abilities of the “knew knee,” I say self-deprecatingly.)

A unique opportunity presents at the Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East Fourth Street (between Bowery and Lafayette), 212-777-1089, in association with Summoners Ensemble Theatre.  John Kevin Jones offers a tour de force one man performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The Director’s Note, by Dr. Rhonda Dodd, explains that Jones was in the midst of developing a five actor version of the Dickens work during 2011,  when he decided to try this version, motivated by Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots (about which I have previously written about for Crimcast).  So it was that Jones took what Dickens did in 1843 and sought to create an abbreviated version of the play that would match Dickens’ comment on social and economic inequality.

Jones succeeds in this effort tremendously. First, he physically inhabits each character as he represents them, going from full ghostly wingspan to (pun admittedly intended) tiny Tiny Tim.  He voices Scrooge’s trembling fear, joyous rediscovery of life, and likewise gives full voice and physicality to Dickens’ female characters, as well.

Second, the play itself is designed for one hour, with 15-minute segments that a lawyer dealing with billable hours would appreciate (roughly Spirit One/Christmas Past, Spirit Two/Christmas Present, Spirit Three/Christmas Future, with background and conclusion getting equal shares of the remaining quarter).  Several lawyers in the audience commented on this as I (also a lawyer) chimed in as to how remarkable it was.

Third, the selection of the Merchant’s House Museum as the location is quite simply inspired. All that the edifice needed (and now has) was a bit of holiday décor (PS on the ground floor, there is a case of vintage stockings and the like, not to be missed on the way in or out).  It is a lovely museum and the front and back rooms provide a perfect setting opportunity (in which folding chairs, which Jones quips are “vintage golden chairs,” as he introduces the performance), are set among the furniture and space of hardware merchant Seabury Treadwell, who purchased the building in 1835, just one year after Dickens authored A Christmas Carol.


An additional – and terrific – feature is that Jones himself mingles and chats with audience members as they are leaving the museum.  He told several of us that according to legend (and perhaps even fact), during the writing of the original version (and Jones adapted this version from Dickens’ original touring version, while reintroducing a scene from the original novella), Dickens would wander the streets of London weeping over piece as he planned and re-edited it.  This humanizing authorial angst, combined with activism on behalf of the laboring poor, especially children (which he saw first hand, after his family lost its money and debtors prison resulted for his father, mother and youngest siblings), makes the plight of the Cratchit family even more accessible.

Jones has chiseled and set a jewel of a play at a jewel of a museum.

Crimcast correspondent Demetra Pappas was named the 2012 SGA Faculty Member of the Year at St. Francis College, for her work in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Her recent book, Historical Guides to Controversial Issues in America: The Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide Debate (Greenwood Press, 2012)  is a 100-year study of US and UK doctors prosecuted for medical euthanasia/assisted suicide and role of media) and was recently nominated for the 2014 International Qualitative Inquiry Book Prize and was nominated and short listed for the British Society of Criminology 2013 Criminology Book Prize.  In addition to her work on end-of-life issues, she writes about anti-stalking mechanisms, pedagogical methodology, visual sociology and pens work on travel (including what has become known as CSI Demetra travel pieces), theater and the arts, dining and culinary books, and historical/cultural sights.

Piper Kerman Discusses Health Issues in Prisons

Nickie Phillips

Piper Kerman

On December 4, St. Francis College welcomed Piper Kerman to Prof. Montecalvo's "Health Issues" class to discuss health care issues faced by incarcerated women. Piper's book "Orange is the New Black" details Piper's time spent in federal prison for a drug-related offense. Since being released, Piper has been a fierce advocate of criminal justice reform with a specific focus on the challenges women face in prison.

On the overuse of incarceration as a solution to the crime problem:

Over 60% of female prisoners are incarcerated for non-violent offenses.

On the prevalence of mental health issues suffered by those in prison:

The three largest providers of mental health care in the United States are Riker's Island, Cook County Jail, and LA County Jail.

On the treatment of pregnant incarcerated women:

More than 30 prisons allow officers to shackle female prisoners while they are giving birth. Only 18 prisons have passed laws banning shackling.

Piper Kerman (author), Nickie Phillips (director, Center for Crime & Popular Culture)

You can read more about Piper and her activism here and follow her on twitter @Piper

Season 1 of the television series based on Piper's book is available on Netflix.

Radley Balko on the "Rise of the Warrior Cop"

Nickie Phillips


The Institute for Peace & Justice and the Center for Crime and Popular Culture welcomed Radley Balko to St. Francis College on November 26 to present his findings on the increasing militarization of U.S. police forces, as well as the legal and political implications of invasive drug searches. He is a senior investigative reporter for the Huffington Post, and a former senior editor for Reason magazine. In 2011 the L.A. Press Club named him Journalist of the Year. Peter Kraska, Chair and Professor in  Police and Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, and expert on the militarization of policing, describes Balko's book the book Rise of the Warrior Copas "A fascinating, highly educational, and deeply disturbing read."

Here's an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal review of the book:

In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Radley Balko chronicles the steady militarization of the police in the U.S. A detailed history of a dangerous trend, Mr. Balko's book tracks police militarization over the past 50 years, a period that not coincidentally corresponds with the rise of SWAT teams. First established in response to the armed riots of the late 1960s, they were originally exclusive to big cities and deployed only against heavily armed and dangerous criminals. Today SWAT teams are nothing special. They've multiplied like mushrooms. Every city has a SWAT team; 80% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people do as well. These teams are busy; in 2005 there were between 50,000 and 60,000 SWAT raids in the U.S. The tactics are pretty much what you would expect—breaking down doors, rushing in with military weaponry, tear gas—but the targets aren't. SWAT teams are routinely deployed against illegal poker games, businesses suspected of employing illegal immigrants and barbershops with unlicensed hair stylists. In Prince George's County, Md., alone, SWAT teams were deployed about once a day in 2009, overwhelmingly to serve search or arrest warrants, and half of those warrants were for 'misdemeanors and nonserious felonies.' Much of Mr. Balko's data is approximate, because police departments don't publish data, ad they uniformly oppose any attempts at transparency or oversight. But he has good Maryland data from 2009 on, because after the mayor of Berwyn Heights was mistakenly attacked and terrorized in his home by a SWAT team in 2008, the state passed a law requiring police to report quarterly on their use of SWAT teams: how many times, for what purposes and whether any shots were fired during the raids.

Sociologist Emily Horowitz, author Radley Balko, and criminologist Nickie Phillips

Community-based Policing: A Look to the Future of Public Safety in NYC Event, John Jay College

Nickie Phillips

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at Nov 14, 2013, 7.21.50 PM

Full Conference Agenda: Community-based Policing Conference agenda for Nov 15

About the Panelists


Michael Cram is a captain in the Philadelphia Police Department’s 26th district who, working with community members, led an effort to reduce crime through a series of measures aimed at addressing ongoing crime generating problems. The approach solicited community input as a primary means of identifying crime hot-spots and addressed broader community needs through economic development, education, culture and the arts.  Residents worked with the police department to reach goals established in each of these areas. With the support of the LISC CSI (see Julia Ryan’s bio), under the leadership of Captain Cram, the PPD collaborated with the community to renovate the Rainbow de Colores playground in north Philadelphia.  As part of a plan called Our Community, Our Ideas, the partnership reduced crime and returned control of the park to the community.

Val Demings served as the Chief of the Orlando Police Department from 2007-2011 and was the first woman to lead the department. During her tenure as head of the OPD, Chief Demings initiated a series of community-oriented, problem-solving measures in the Palms Apartments, a low-income complex with a long history of crime and disorder, including a triple homicide in July 2008.  Rather than rely solely on enforcement tactics in response to the homicides, Chief Demings held a series of meetings with the residents and based on these meetings developed a comprehensive strategy for strengthening the community’s ability to control crime and enjoy a better quality of life. Among other things, the strategy included providing entry gates for residents and police assistance in beautifying the complex grounds.  These non-enforcement activities helped build trust between the police and local residents. A major crime decrease followed, and since then, the approach pioneered by Demings has been adopted in housing complexes across Florida.

Ronald Fred is a sergeant in the Philadelphia Police Department who previously served as the community officer for the 26th district. Under the supervision of Capt. Michael Cram, he worked closely with residents to renovate the Rainbow de Colores playground. The physical renovation of the park and the close and continuous collaboration between local residents and Sgt. Fred, who was a patrol officer at the time, led to reduced crime within the park and areas surrounding it.

Allen James  is Program Manager for Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) Crown Heights, a community-based anti-violence initiative in Brooklyn. S.O.S. Crown Heights is based on the Chicago Ceasefire or CureViolence model which seeks to reduce gun violence by providing on-the-spot conflict mediation.  S.O.S Crown Heights staff, many of whom are former-offenders, utilize their knowledge of life on the streets in their peer counseling. In addition, S.O.S. Crown Heights works closely with local residents, businesses, clergy, and community organizations to promote a visible and public message against gun violence. A recent evaluation, conducted by researchers from the Center for Court Innovation and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, found that activities of S.O.S. Crown Heights have made a significant contribution to the reduction of gun violence.

To learn more visit and

Sean Johnson is the Director of Program Marketing at the Council For Unity. Founded in Brooklyn in the 1970s, Council For Unity (CFU) brings a distinct approach to youth violence reduction. CFU recognizes that when overwhelmed by social challenges, youth may embrace a street culture with values that frequently lead to violence. CFU seeks to provide a set of alternative values based on four pillars: Family, Unity, Self-esteem and Empowerment (F.U.S.E.). Through curricula, developed over decades, via work in schools, communities, and correctional facilities and by collaborating with law enforcement, other youth organizations and businesses, Council For Unity staff work closely with youth to uncover and strengthen their positive social talents and abilities.  Research is currently in progress to examine how exposure to these curricula impact young people’s decisions and help them resist engaging in violence.

To learn more visit

Dr. Candace McCoy is a Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and is affiliated with the John Jay College, Department of Criminal Justice.  She is a specialist in criminal justice policy. Most recently, Dr. McCoy was principle investigator for an evaluation of Cincinnati’s Police-Community Collaborative Agreement entered into in 2002.   The collaboration, which involves the police department, the police union, advocacy groups and community organizations, led to the city’s adoption of a Community Problem-Oriented Policing (CPOP) strategy. The CPOP model involves a commitment to community input in the identification and resolution of issues related to crime and disorder.  A 2009 report by the RAND Corporation found that since the adoption of this model, crime in Cincinnati declined substantially and that perceptions of police racial profiling also declined.

To learn more visit:

Andre T. Mitchell is Founder and Executive Director of MAN UP! Inc., a grassroots organization that began as an anti-gun violence initiative in the East New York section of Brooklyn, in 2003. Its activities have since expanded to include after-school programs, athletic leagues, and job training; and, its geographic focus has expanded to other parts of New York state. MAN UP! Inc. was recently featured in a New YorkTimes article that credits work conducted by its street outreach workers and “violence interrupters” with contributing to a 363-day period during which no shootings occurred in an area previously known for gun violence. The NYPD’s 73rd and 75th precincts are a primary focus of the organizations work. Using anti-violence methods that are consistent with the Chicago Ceasefire model, Man Up! Inc. has been awarded a substantial anti-gun violence grant from the state senate.

To learn more visit:

Julia Ryan is the director of the Community Safety Initiative (CSI), a national program of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Headquartered in New York City, LISC is the nation’s largest community development support organization, providing financial, technical and policy assistance to local neighborhood revitalization efforts around the country. LISC’s CSI is supporting the integration of crime prevention into comprehensive community development by providing training and technical assistance in more than 20 cities and fostering national partnerships with Congressional and criminal justice leaders. The CSI Resource Center works with residents and community organizations to tackle persistent crime problems in collaboration with progressive law enforcement agencies. Such public safety partnerships that align organizing, enforcement, and community revitalization, have achieved major crime reductions across the country by replacing trouble spots with quality housing, active businesses, and safe playspaces.

To learn more visit:

Doc NYC Film Festival Features 1970s-era NYPD Police Corruption

Nickie Phillips

Doc NYC festival will be held November 14-21, 2013. 

Among the many documentaries of note, don't miss Ido Mizrahy's Patrolman P,  a documentary that examines NYPD corruption during the 1970s:

Investigators leaned on a flamboyant detective named Bill Phillips who, after being caught taking bribes from an infamous madam, agreed to go undercover. Phillips secured the indictments of dozens of cops, shattering the Blue Wall of Silence. But then he was charged with a crime that put him behind bars for three decades. Was it a conspiracy?

See also John Akomfrah's The Stuart Hall Project,

A complex and deeply insightful thinker about subjects as diverse as feminism, Marxist methodology, migration and American hippies, the 82-year-old, Jamaican-born Hall is one of the most inspiring voices of the post-war Left.

You can find the Guardian review here:

For the full schedule of Doc NYC, go here.

Edgar Allan Poe at the Morgan Library and Museum

Nickie Phillips


Demetra M. Pappas,  JD, MSc, PhD, correspondent

This piece, about “Edgar Allan Poe:  Terror of the Soul” at the Morgan Museum and Library (October 4, 2013 – January 26, 2014), is one part art and literary review and one part pedagogical instruction. I viewed this tour de force exhibition on a day that I was dealing with hellish and rather obsessive revisions of a PhD chapter on the Chief Prosecuting Attorneys and Judges in the Jack “Dr. Death” Kevorkian trials, which I am reformatting as an article (having not learned better after writing a book recently on this history of euthanasia/assisted suicide debate).  As a member of a generation that wrote briefs, articles and dissertations on yellow pads, rather than iPads, I have been carrying around sheafs of paper with inserted words/phrases, “x”ed out paragraphs, circled material with arrows.

So it was that I went to the Poe exhibition when I felt dejected and at a lack of inspiration (and that on work previously received well by peers and superiors in criminology, law, sociology, history and narrative medicine) and fled my computer and writing table (though carrying around the drafts and pads, as though that would magically reformat the piece).  My natural expectation was to feel intimidated further by seeing works by this poet, essayist, literary critic and editor.

Instead, I came away inspired. Now, I fully realize that I will almost certainly live a writer’s life of perpetual doe in the headlights, rather than be a Poe in the limelight (though he underwent terribly periods of poverty and, in fact, went bankrupt at one point – inspiring enough for those underpaid, indebted students, writers, lawyers and other viewers). What immediately captured me was a hand drafted manuscript encased at the center of the room as viewers enter, “The Living Writers of America:  Some Ideas and Opinions about their Literary Merits with Occasional Words of Personality,” circa 1846-1847.”  There were cross outs, inserted words and phrases, arrows – in other words, there were the signs of a redrafter and reviser. I immediately made a note to tell students, colleagues and friends to look for this piece especially, no disrespect to The Raven.

Another piece which intrigued me was a scathing self-critique by Poe, of Poe, captioned, “A Reviewer Reviewed,” written under a pseudonym. All writers (and all students who have a writing requirement) should see this piece, so that they can see that the originator of American Gothic, and the first American writer to earn his daily bread in that enterprise, also effectively cringed when looking back at earlier work (and this work was reputedly only a year or two earlier).  This is cause to revere Poe more, not less, and to celebrate him as reaching (and teaching) into the lives of contemporary people.

Poe’s genius is visually enhanced by the curatorial choice of Declan Kiely, Robert H. Taylor Curator, Literary and Historical Manuscripts, of mounting the exhibition against rich blood-red walls.  The paint (“Caliente AF-290,” by Benjamin Moore was chosen further to “a decision based on an exhibition of Russian icons [he] saw [in which he was] struck by how well you could light that blood red color in the way that complemented the manuscript and the ink.”

Poe would not have edited this, an imaginative setting that highlights the writing and the accompanying portraits and pieces of art.

Demetra M. Pappas, JD, MSc, PhD was named the 2012 SGA Faculty Member of the Year at St. Francis College.  Her book, Historical Guides to Controversial Issues in America: The Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide Debate, (Greenwood Press,  2012) (100 year study of US and UK  doctors prosecuted for medical euthanasia/assisted suicide and role of media) was nominated, 2014 International Qualitative Inquiry Book Prize and was nominated and short listed for the 2013 BSC Criminology Book Prize.

Crimcast to Live-Tweet from March on Washington, Saturday August 24

Nickie Phillips

photo (3)

Crimcast, along with thousands of Americans, will descend on Washington tomorrow morning (Sat. Aug. 24, 8 a.m. EST) to stand up for justice, jobs and freedom in commemoration of the historic march 50 years ago.  Follow us on Twitter as we tweet our impressions of the pre-march rally, including speeches by Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, John Lewis, Nancy Pelosi and many others.  We will also tweet our impressions of the crowd and share our favorite signs and slogans.  Crimcast, of course, is partial to calls for justice! 

The Verdict: What does it mean to you? - John Jay College of Criminal Justice Event

Nickie Phillips

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at Jul 16, 2013, 2.40.15 PM

The Verdict: What Does it Mean to You?

All voices are welcome at this informal reflection to share reactions, thoughts and feelings about the verdict of the State v. Zimmerman case.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013



East End of the Cafeteria, 2nd Floor

Light Refreshments Will Be Served

John Jay  College of  Criminal Justice

524 West 59th Street, Suite 621T

New York City, NY 10019