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Dr. Michael Hallett, professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of North Florida, recently received a Legends, Pioneers and Trailblazers award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Florida Chapter for the invaluable service and scholarly research he has provided in the areas of criminal justice in Jacksonville.Hallett, a St. Augustine resident, received the award April 26 at the SCLC’s inaugural Legends, Pioneers and Trailblazers Memorial MLK Jr. Gala at the Sheraton Hotel in Deerwood. He accepted the award for his work on behalf of civil rights and social justice in speaking out about the connection between poverty and crime in Jacksonville. The memorial gala commemorates the legacy and sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by providing a forum to recognize inspirational citizens for their dedication, sacrifice and influence in the community and the world.“We can’t solve the problems associated with race, violence and crime until we get the facts, and Dr. Hallett has consistently provided the facts,” said SCLC Florida Chapter President Opio Sokoni. “His ground-breaking book, “Private Prisons in America: A Critical Race Perspective,” is greatly needed and is essential to finding solutions within the criminal justice system.”In 2006, Hallett won the Gandhi, King Ikeda Award from Morehouse College, MLK Jr.’s alma mater, for his book “Private Prisons in America.” His work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Punishment & Society, The Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, Contemporary Justice Review, Critical Criminology and others.Over the years, several of Hallett’s projects have been focused on the connection between Jacksonville poverty and crime, most notably former Mayor John Peyton’s Jacksonville Journey program. He designed the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Pre-trial Services Unit and has completed extensive work with local organizations, including Operation New Hope, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida, Hubbard House, the City of Jacksonville, WJCT Public Radio, Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. and more. Hallett was founding chairman of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at UNF, serving two terms from 2004 to 2013. Hallett received the Outstanding Graduate Alumnus Award from his doctoral alma mater, Arizona State University, in 2007, and serves as a non-resident scholar at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion.His areas of focus in teaching and research are corrections and social inequality, critical theory and history and philosophy of punishment. Hallett’s current research is focused on faith-based corrections programs, including a current project at Louisiana State Penitentiary.UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.
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