The School of Criminal Justice remembers longtime correctional policy expert

Edward Latessa, Ph.D., former school director, to be honored at memorial

The faculty and staff in the School of Criminal Justice within the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) mourns the passing of its "larger than life" former school director, Edward Latessa, PhD.

Latessa led the School of Criminal Justice for nearly 40 years at the University of Cincinnati. He partnered with faculty and colleagues to build the Corrections Institute, which conducts research to establish effective rehabilitation policies in corrections. He laid the infrastructure to create one of the country's best Criminal Justice doctoral programs, which has graduated more than 200 academic professionals that will continue the work he began.

edward latessa photo

Edward Latessa, PhD. | Photo Credit: UC Creative Services

Latessa was diligent and consistent in his work that challenged the broad perspective of rehabilitation amongst correctional professionals and practitioners. In his article "Why Work Is Important, and How to Improve the Effectiveness of Correctional Reentry Programs that Target Employment," he stated, "Fortunately, a large body of research is available that demonstrates that well-implemented correctional programs that target the right offenders, target criminogenic needs, and teach offenders new skills and behaviors can have an appreciable effect on recidivism. Programs that do not pay attention to this research risk being ineffective, and the result can be an undermining of support for programs—the sending of the wrong signal."

This push towards a new way of thinking about corrections has been discussed worldwide. The foundation of Latessa's research was to give offenders the skills to learn from their previous behaviors and equip them to make better choices versus assuming they will be repeat offenders.

Along with his academic achievements, Latessa will be remembered for his honesty, sharp sense of humor, and genuine care he exhibited to his colleagues. Executive Assistant, Danielle Signorelli, remembers Latessa by stating, "To take the time out of his day to ask how I was doing is what will be missed."  

Stephanie Wyler, Assistant Professor within the School of Criminal Justice, states, "Ed Latessa was a formidable presence in any setting. He was truly one of the sharpest minds I have ever known, yet through his keen wit and humor, he conveyed his thoughts so that they were understandable and memorable. His wisdom and advice enriched my professional life, and his friendship enriched my personal life."

Recently, CECH named one of its conference rooms after Latessa by the appointment of Dean Lawrence Johnson.

Edward Latessa was a husband and father of four. He passed away peacefully on January 11, 2022, surrounded by his family. A memorial in his honor will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at 11 am. The program will begin at 11:30 am at the University of Cincinnati, Tangeman University Center.