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Lycoming College welcomes Jill McCorkel, Ph.D., as the speaker for the 22nd annual Strauser Lecture. Her talk, titled “Ain't I a Prisoner? How Justice Reform Efforts Are Failing Incarcerated Women,” will discuss the widespread failure of modern reforms in the justice system to help disenfranchised women. It will be held on Monday, March 27, at 4 p.m. in the Academic Center, room D-001, followed by a reception at 5 p.m. in Pennington Lounge. This event is free and open to the public.
McCorkel’s lecture will draw on her years of experience researching the social and political consequences of mass incarceration in the United States. A professor of sociology and criminology at Villanova University, McCorkel’s expertise lies in scrutinizing how law and systems of punishment perpetuate race, class, and gender inequality.
She is the author of the critically acclaimed “Breaking Women: Gender, Race, and the New Politics of Imprisonment,” which studies how the War on Drugs and punishment-centered laws affected incarcerated women. It was a finalist for the prestigious C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. She is at work on a second book that expands on the topic of her presentation.
McCorkel first graduated from Bucknell University with a B.A. in sociology and political science, and went on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Delaware. She is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology Division of Women and Crime, Villanova University’s Mid-Career Scholar Award, and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Criminology Division of Corrections and Sentencing. Currently, she serves on the editorial boards of Punishment & Society and Journal of Higher Education in Prison, and is chair of the 2023 meetings of the American Society of Criminology.
With the annual Strauser Lecture Series, Lycoming honors the legacy of Professor Larry R. Strauser, who began the criminal justice major at Lycoming College in 1975. He envisioned a unique interdisciplinary curriculum at a liberal arts college that would contribute to the reformation of the criminal justice system. Under Strauser’s direction the program grew, and today many alumni hold successful criminal justice careers. Past speakers include Ramiro Martinez, Ph.D., professor of sociology and criminology and criminal justice at Northeastern University; Thomas Vanaskie ’75, federal judge of the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania; and Elijah Anderson, Ph.D., the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale University.