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Vengeance and sympathy in criminal justice talk

Amy Wood

Amy Wood

Professor of History Amy Wood will present the ISU/IWU History Faculty Research Seminar from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 29, at the Faculty/Staff Commons of the Bone Student Center.

Wood will give a talk titled “Vengeance and Sympathy in U.S. Progressive-Era Criminal Justice: The Strange Case of Jesse Pomeroy.” The event is open to faculty, staff, and graduate students.

image of Jesse Pomerov

Jesse Pomeroy

In 1876, at the age of 16, Jesse Pomeroy entered the Charlestown State Prison in Boston, Massachusetts, to serve a life sentence in solitary confinement for the murders of two young children. Pomeroy was a cause célèbre at the turn of the 20th century, an object of public fascination upon which fears about crime, as well as emerging sympathies toward the criminal, were projected.

This talk will use Pomeroy’s case to discuss the role of feeling in popular, scientific, and state treatments of the criminal in the Progressive Era, when a robust penal reform movement provoked fierce public debates and moral conflicts about the proper role of criminal punishment in a modern society.

For more information on the event, contact Assistant Professor of History Sudipa Topdar at (309) 438-8506.