The last couple of days have been really hectic. Yesterday I went to a number of sessions at the conference, including the one where Lincoln and Cassandra from FAU were presenting on their work on problem-solving courts which was really interesting. In the audience was Lisa Angstrom, who was one of my graduate students in FAU and has come to the ASC conference for the first time and brought her daughter along – it was good to see her again. I then went back to the hotel at 5pm and got ready to go back out again. I walked the five minute walk back up the conference hotel and met Frank Cullen, his graduate students and one of his friends from Arkansas who is a Pro-Vice Chancellor there and a very nice guy. It was great to spend time with Frank and the others and we went to an oyster restaurant close to the hotel. Frank has always been a good friend to me, and is always genuinely interested in my work and willing to go out of his way to help me. He is one of the biggest names in Criminology and has had a prolific publishing record, but is so humble and genuine and it was great to see him again after having spent a couple of days at his home in Cincinnati in April with him and his wife.
After we finished the meal we walked back to the conference hotel which was still buzzing with all the delegates, I then walked back down to my own hotel.
This morning I woke up early – I seem to still be wakening around 4.30/5am. I got up around 6.50, got ready and walked round to i-Hop for breakfast then up to the conference for the early morning sessions. Most people had by now gone home, so the sessions were very quiet – one session only had me and one other person in the audience. But there were some really good sessions this morning, including one on gangs, one on religion and spirituality in religion and a very interesting one on police training and procedural justice. I then went to the closing conference brunch where there were maybe about 100 people – with the vast majority of delegates now gone. I then went back to my hotel, got changed and went on the bus to the East State Penitentiary to go on the tour there, and met Lisa (my graduate students from FAU), who was going on the tour with her daughter and Kirsten, another graduate student from FAU. Robert Weide, my friend from California State University in LA, was also there. The tour was really fascinating – it is such a historical place, and I was able to see inside Al Capone’s prison cell and to hear the full history of the Penitentiary. The display in one of the open areas was quite startling – showing in visual form how high the rate of incarceration is in the USA now compared to 40 years ago, and compared to other parts of the world – the USA incarcerating 750 people per 100,000 citizens compared to 154 people per 100,000 citizens in the UK and only 54 people per 100, 000 in Denmark.
After the tour Lisa, her daughter and I then walked down to the Museum of Art to see the ‘Rocky steps and statue and get photos taken. We then did the long walk back (through the heavy rain) to the conference hotel where they called a ca back to their hotel and I then walked back to mine. I got changed and then went out and had a Philly cheese steak at a local restaurant and then a cup of team and a doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts!
Overall, it has been a great conference and a great trip. So good to meet so many friends who I only really see at events like these ones.
Tomorrow I have until 3.30 before I need to leave for the airport.