Professor of Law Says Criminal Law Now More Political

A professor from the University of Michigan Law School said last night that academic thought on criminal justice in the U.S. changed dramatically in the late 1960s.

Francis A. Allen, former dean of the University of Michigan Law School, said that in the fifties and early sixties writing on criminal law concentrated on the individual offender and on how his behavior could be changed. Contemporary writing is more apt to question the law that was violated, he said.

Allen, speaking before 250 people, said the contemporary view of criminal law is openly political. He quoted one representative of the contemporary view as saying that criminal law is an expression of the interests of those who have power.

Allen personally agreed with much of the present-day view. However, he emphasized that some police organizations in the U.S. act "in interests defined by the police themselves."

Allen will continue his three-part Holmes Lecture Series on "The Crimes of Politics: Political Dimensions of Criminal Justice" today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Austin Hall.