The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) has selected Faith Lutze, a WSU professor and expert in criminal justice, to receive the group’s prestigious Founder’s Award in recognition of “a career of providing substantial contributions to the Academy and to the discipline of criminal justice through education and research.”

A member of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology faculty since 1995, Lutze regularly enters prison facilities to work with staff and inmates and provides essential research and evaluations for national and state prison programs. Her major publications include The Professional Lives of Community Corrections Officers: The Invisible Side of Reentry (2014), based upon her decades of evaluating programs in the Washington State Department of Corrections. The book is among the first to contextualize the work of contemporary probation and parole officers.

“Her career and commitment to criminal justice embodies the ACJS mission to transform justice through research, education, and practice,” said Frances Bernat, a Regents professor and associate dean at Texas A&M International University, in nominating Lutze for the award.

“Faith is successful because of her leadership, drive and intensity for caring” about the discipline of criminal justice and all the people involved, including those who work in the field, victims of crime, and offenders in prison, Bernat said.

“It is such an honor to be recognized as an ACJS Founder and to represent such a respected community of justice scholars and educators,” Lutze said. “I am proud, grateful and inspired to continue the important work of the Academy.”

Established in 1963, ACJS provides a forum for disseminating information and ideas about critical issues in crime and criminal and social justice research, policy, education, and practice. In her 33 years of membership, Lutze has served on several committees and in a number of leadership roles, including as president (2018-19), second vice president (2016–17), and Executive Board member.

In 2020, she received the Keeper of the Flame Award from ACJS for her distinguished service to the Minorities and Women Section (MWS) in advancing the principles of social justice and human rights. In 2010, she was honored with the Coramae Richey Mann Leadership Award from MWS and the ACJS Corrections Section’s Outstanding Member Award.

“An interesting bit of ACJS trivia is that it was founded here at WSU, as was the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, Alpha Phi Sigma,” Lutze said.

Leadership in teaching, mentoring, research and outreach

The first woman criminal justice faculty member at WSU to achieve tenured status, she has received several university and departmental honors, including the WSU President’s Award for Leadership in 2013, the Woman of Distinction Faculty Award from the Association of Faculty Women and the Commission on the Status of Women in 2016, and a variety of teaching awards.

Lutze coordinated and helped grow her department’s undergraduate and graduate programs and has mentored numerous doctoral students and junior faculty over the years. She has also developed a number of community engagement activities and served on criminal justice policy boards at the state and federal levels.

She pioneered research on rehabilitation and reentry services and has provided expert analysis of drug courts, boot camps, and criminal justice and prison culture. Her current research and teaching interests include gender violence, justice, and strategies for reducing harm and oppression in the criminal justice system.

Lutze “does not just study criminal justice, she is an embodiment of its best virtues – a commitment to seek out answers to respond to crime in our communities and to make this nation a better place to live, work, and love,” Bernat said.

Lutze will be honored at the ACJS annual meeting to be held virtually in April.

Top photo: Faith Lutze

By J. Adrian Aumen, College of Arts and Sciences