1967 President's Commission- 50th Anniversary

1967 President's Commission- 50th Anniversary

Members of this community and David May, Mississippi State University, College of Sociology/ Criminal Justice (ACJS Corrections Chair), will be providing a seminar at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS)  (criminal justice professors), Kansas City conference on Thurs, March 23. We will be discussing "1967 President's Commission - 50th Anniversary- Has Higher Education Met Its Obligation". So I be providing information from the presentation and the many arguments:

Incidents involving police brutality and riots during the 1950s and 1960s resulted in the 1967 President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. The commission was given the task of conducting an in- depth assessment of the entire criminal justice system, including different types of crime and unreported crime, and to develop ways to improve the system. The commission obtained information from federal, state and local corrections and police agencies. Surveys were sent to police and corrections officers to examine the problems within the criminal justice system. The surveys were used to find procedures that were most effective in deterring crime and provide recommendations to improve the criminal justice system (Winslow, 1968).

Task forces were established to tour corrections facilities nationwide and to meet with police administrators in cities in the North and the South. Civic and religious leaders were interviewed to discuss the entire range of problems and recommendations for the criminal justice system including issues with mental health offenders. State task forces were established to explore community issues identified by the national task forces. This was the first comprehensive study conducted on corrections departments, law enforcement departments, probation/parole and the court system. The committee published its findings in 1967 with many recommendations for the revitalization of the criminal justice system, including the emphasis on advanced education for law enforcement officers (Winslow, 1968).

The report indicated the higher the level of education, the lower the possibility of officer bias, prejudice or excessive use of force. One of the most significant recommendations from the commission regarding law enforcement was:

“If educational standards are raised…they should have a significant positive long term effect on community relations. Police personnel with two to four years of college should have a better appreciation of people with different racial, economic and cultural backgrounds or at least, should have the innate ability to acquire such understanding. Studies support the proposition that well educated persons are less prejudiced toward minority groups than the poorly educated.”  


                                                                                   (Winslow, 1968, p. 278).                                               


While the report stated “All criminal justice personnel have to be educated to handle the challenges” (Winslow,1968, p. 367) it made no recommendations for the advanced education of corrections officers.


Winslow, R. (1968). Crime in a free society. Selections from the President’s 

    Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. Berkley,   

    Dickenson Publishing Company.