Distinguished Professor Craig Haney receives Martin M. Chemers Award for Outstanding Research

The annual award honors a faculty member who has earned an outstanding national and international reputation in her or his field.

October 13, 2015


Professor Haney (right) received the Martin M. Chemers Award for Outstanding Research award at the Division of Social Sciences' annual fall breakfast. From right to left, Haney is pictured here with Professor Emeritus Martin M. Chemers, Professor and Department Chair Campbell Leaper, and Dean Sheldon Kamieniecki. (Photo by Melissa De Witte)
Craig Haney, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology, is this year's recipient of the Martin M. Chemers Award for Outstanding Research.

Nine years ago Dean of Social Sciences, Sheldon Kamienicki established the Martin M. Chemers Award for Outstanding Research in the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This award, named in honor of former Social Sciences Dean Marty Chemers who strongly promoted excellence in research, is intended to recognize a highly prominent senior faculty member whose scholarship has had a substantial cumulative impact on her or his discipline over a number of years. The recipient is required to have a distinguished national and international reputation in her or his field.

Given Professor Haney's body of work - its depth, breadth, productivity, originality, and continuing influence - the committee selected Professor Haney for the Martin M. Chemers Award for Outstanding Research.

Professor Haney has established an international reputation for his fundamental contributions in the field of social psychology specializing in the psychology of law, especially that of imprisonment and death sentencing in the U.S. His scholarship addresses penal practices and mental health, the treatment of prisoners in recent years, and shortcomings in the U.S. judicial system’s use of social science research and expertise in judicial decision-making and penal practices. Professor Haney has critiqued the framing of “crime” and “criminal behavior” as the product of individual “flaws” to the neglect of the effects of larger societal forces. His scholarship intertwines empirical research, observational data, and social psychological theory to make the case for a dramatic shift in policy within the criminal justice system. Psychologists, legal professionals, and policymakers have lauded his theoretical and applied scholarly contributions.

Professor Haney is a also prolific scholar. His book, Death by Design: Capital Punishment as a Social Psychological System (Oxford University Press), examines how the application of the death penalty in the U.S. stems from practices that enable citizens, voters, and jurors to be psychologically distant from the act of taking a life. It was awarded the Herbert Jacob Book Prize by Law and Society. In addition, he has published, Reforming Punishment: Psychological Limits to the Pains of Imprisonment, nominated by the American Psychological Association for a National Book award, plus more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and over 30 book chapters, and he has served on editorial boards or consulted for leading scholarly journals in psychology.

As a public scholar, Professor Haney has provided briefs and testimony for legal defense organizations, local, state, and federal agencies, Congress, and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as giving many interviews in the national and international media. He was recently appointed to a National Academy of Sciences committee studying the causes and consequences of high rates of incarceration in the U.S. Professor Haney’'s scholarly research and far-reaching, evidence-based advocacy for prison and legal reform is truly remarkable, fully meriting recognition with the Martin M. Chemers Award for Distinguished Research in the Division of Social Sciences.

As in past years, all the nominees this year were deserving and the selection committee had a very difficult time choosing among them. The selection committee included Professors Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, Lourdes Martinez-Echazabal, and Judith Habicht-Mauche.

Past winners include: Diane Gifford-Gonzalez (Anthropology), 2014; Carl Walsh (Economics), 2013; Deborah Letourneau (Environmental Studies), 2012; Anna Tsing (Anthropology), 2011; Donald Wittman (Economics), 2010; Adrienne Zihlman (Anthropology), 2009; Daniel Friedman (Economics), 2008; and Bruce Bridgeman (Psychology), 2007.