Co-Authors and Criminology Professors Risdon Slate and W. Wesley Johnson to Speak at Florida Lecture Series
State Sen. Paula Dockery To Participate
LAKELAND, Fla. (Jan. 9, 2009) — Florida Southern College’s Center for Florida History welcomes Dr. Risdon N. Slate of Florida Southern College, and Dr. W. Wesley Johnson of the University of Southern Mississippi, to the Florida Lecture Series on Jan. 22. The co-authors will discuss their book, “The Criminalization of Mental Illness in Florida: Crisis and Opportunity for the Justice System.” The Robert and Rose Stahl Criminal Justice Lecture will start at 7 p.m. in the William M. Hollis Seminar Room of the Thad Buckner Building on the FSC campus. The event is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.
Attending the lecture will be state Sen. Paula Dockery, chair of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee. She will be recognized for her work in the Senate.
“We are delighted to have Professors Slate and Johnson as this year’s Stahl lecturers in Criminal Justice,” said James M. Denham, professor of history and director of FSC’s Center for Florida History. “Over the years, we have been proud to welcome former Attorney General Janet Reno, National Book Award winner Kevin Boyle, and death penalty scholar Michael Radelet, among others. Slate and Johnson will join this distinguished group, and we expect a very interesting and informative program on a subject of great significance for our state.”
Slate and Johnson will address the position that the criminal justice system has become the de facto mental health system, with a high number of America’s correctional facilities serving as inpatient psychiatric institutions. Topics will include the need for adequate and appropriate treatment for the mentally ill, specialized law enforcement responses, and mental health courts that offer treatment options and follow-up procedures.
Slate received a doctorate in criminal justice from the Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, Calif., and serves as professor of criminology at FSC. As a member of the national board of directors of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) from 2004 to 2007, the Florida NAMI board of directors from 1999 to 2005, and the Polk County chapter president from 1999-2001, Slate has advocated tirelessly for the rights of the mentally ill. He has published numerous articles, given dozens of presentations and interviews, and testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime about mental health reform.
Johnson received his doctorate from Florida State University. His articles have appeared in Justice Quarterly, the American Journal of Crime and Justice, Crime and Delinquency, the Prison Journal and the Journal of Drug Issues. He is the president of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and is the doctoral program director in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Southern Mississippi.
About the Florida Lecture Series