The Origins and Development of Federal Crime Control Policy: Herbert Hoover's Initiatives

By James D. Calder | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Intellectual Resources for
New Policy Initiatives

Criminology . . . draws information, to be sure, from a great variety of specialized investigations--physiological, psychological, legal, chemical, economic, statistical, educational, and sociological.1

Herbert Hoover was not a criminologist. Neither was he an expert in federal justice administration. Public service in the Belgian Relief Program and his years as commerce secretary, however, had introduced him to Newton Baker, Lawrence Richey, George Wickersham, William Mitchell, Mabel Willebrandt, Max Lowenthal, Arthur Woods, each becoming a key insider in his presidency. In turn, insiders introduced Hoover to distant but respected experts in the new behavioral and social sciences. By 1929, Hoover's affiliations with intellectual and practitioner resources ranged across law, criminology, penology, public administration, judicial procedure, and police administration. A trained appreciation of scientific method deepened his respect for the social sciences and belief in the possibilities for scientific inquiry into social problems.

This chapter discusses the legacy of neglect in federal justice administration that, by 1929, had been subjected to probings by academic and justice system experts. Thinkers and doers had aimed criticisms at police organizations, the courts and prisons, juvenile delinquency, and organized crime. They could be found at leading universities and research organizations in departments of criminology, law, political science, psychiatry, government, psychology, and sociology and in police and welfare departments, courthouses, and

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