Criminal Justice Faculty

Full-Time Faculty

Adjunct Faculty


Dr. Robert P. Weiss

Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice

Professor Weiss' professional career in criminal justice education began in 1969, immediately after college graduation, when he began a three-year stint teaching English and philosophy at The Field's High School, Ohio State Reformatory (a gothic-looking 19th century prison that was the setting for the film, “Shawshank Redemption”).

Although this job was one of expediency (it rendered a “critical skill” occupational deferment from military service in Vietnam), it inspired Dr. Weiss to pursue graduate education at Xavier University (Cincinnati) and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (S.I.U.). Graduating in 1980 with a Ph.D. in sociology from S.I.U., Dr. Weiss first taught at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (where he headed the Texas Department of Corrections Ramsey Unit College Prison Program) until 1984, when he moved to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (teaching in the General College and at the college program extension at Stillwater Penitentiary). In 1994, he was selected to serve on the board of directors for a prisoner-operated educational corporation at Stillwater, Minnesota. Professor Weiss has been at Plattsburgh since 1985.

Dr. Weiss has edited two scholarly books, several special issue journals for Social Justice, and authored numerous refereed academic articles on prison history, the historical evolution of private policing, and prison industry. His pastime activities include writing critical letters to the editor of major newspapers on criminal justice topics, over a dozen of which have been published in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and USA Today.


  • Ph.D., Sociology, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1980
  • M.A. in Corrections, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1972
  • B.A. in History, Ohio State University, Columbus, 1969

Teaching Areas

  • Sociology of punishment and corrections
  • Sociology of social problems and public policy
  • Topical seminars

Research Areas

  • Social history of private policing
  • The history of imprisonment
  • Comparative prison systems

Recent Publications

  • "Vanishing Boundaries of Control: Implications for Security and Sovereignty of the Changing Nature and Global Expansion of Neo-liberal Criminal Justice Provision." Plenary Address to the International Symposium on the Role of the Private Sector in the Arrangement and Delivery of Criminal Justice. The Centre for Criminal Justice in the School of Law, University of Leeds, England, June 26-27, 2012.
  • "Canadian Corrections in a Comparative Context." Chapter 16 in Adult Corrections in Canada. Edited by John Winterdyk and Michael Weinrath (de Sitter Publications, 2012).
  • "Privatizing the Leviathan State: A "Reaganomic" Legacy." Chapter 4 in 1980's: A Critical and Transitional Decade? edited by Kimberly R. Moffitt and Duncan Campbell (Rowman & Littlefield/Lexington Books, 2010), pp. 89-108.
  • "From Cowboy-Detectives to Soldiers of Fortune: The Recrudescence of Primitive Accumulation Security and Its Contradictions On the New Frontiers of Capitalist Expansion," article in Special Issue of Social Justice, Vol. 34, No. 3-4 (2007-8).
  • "The American Culture of Torture: A Review Essay," A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror, by Alfred W. McCoy (New York: Henry Holt/Metropolitan, 2006). World as Laboratory: Experiments With Mice, Mazes, and Men, by Rebecca Lemov (New York: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus, & Giroux in Social Justice Vol. 33, No. 1 (2006)
  • Review: Borge Bakken (Ed.), Crime, Punishment, and Policing in China. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005 in Asian Studies Review [Vol. 29, 4 (December) 2005].
  • Review: Frank Dikotter, Crime, Punishment and the Prison in Modern China (London: Hurst & Company, 2002) in Asian Studies Review [Vol. 27, No.3 (September) 2003], pp. 394-5.
  • "From Anti-colonialism to Neocolonialism: A Brief Political-Economic History of Transnational Concern About Corrections," in Philip Reichel (ed). The Handbook of International Crime and Justice (Sage Publications, 2004).
  • "Privatization of labor," "Labor," and "Hard Labor," Encyclopedia of Prisons and Correctional Facilities, edited by Mary Bosworth (Sage Publications, 2004).
  • "'Repatriating' Low-Wage Jobs: The Political Economy of Prison Labor Reprivatization in Postindustrial U.S." in Criminology, Vol. 39 No. 2 (May 2001).
  • "Charitable Choice as Neoliberal Social Welfare Strategy," Social Justice, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Spr. 2001).

Contact Dr. Robert Weiss

Office: Redcay Hall 236
Phone: (518) 564-3308