Dr. Ralph A. Weisheit

Last Updated May 2019

(Click here for Dr. Weisheit's full vitae)

Dr. Weisheit is a Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice at Illinois State University, where he has been employed since August of 1982. He received his PhD in Sociology in May of 1981 from Washington State University.

Dr. Ralph A. Weisheit
Department of Criminal Justice
430 Schroeder Hall
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61761-5250
Office Phone: 309-438-3849
Office FAX: 309-438-7289
E-Mail: raweish (


Dr. Weisheit has published 8 books, more than 45 articles in professional journals, 20 original chapters to edited books, and 13 solicited essays. His writings have focused on the drugs-crime connection, women and crime, and on the effectiveness of alcohol and drug education programs. In addition, he has presented about 50 papers to professional organization.

His published books include:

Pursuing Justice. (2019, 3rd Edition). (with Frank Morn). Routledge Publishing Company. This book goes beyond criminal justice to consider a wide range of justice issues. The book is divided into four sections: the concept of justice, formal systems of justice, issues in justice, and ways of achieving justice.

Methamphetamine: Its History, Pharmacology and Treatment. (2009) (with William L. White). Hazelden Press. This book provides a broad understanding of issues related to methamphetamine, including: current trends and patterns, history, pharmacology, social effects, manufacturing meth, the drug's impact on rural communities, and treatment..

Crime and Policing in Rural and Small-Town America. (2006, Third Edition). (with L. Edward Wells & David N. Falcone). Waveland Press. A study of rural crime and rural justice based on focus groups and interviews with rural police and on data from a variety of sources.

Order Under Law. (2002, 6th Edition). (co-edited with Robert G. Culbertson). Waveland Press. A collection of previously published articles covering a range of issues related to crime and the criminal justice system. Intended as an introduction to issues in criminal justice.

Juvenile Delinquency: A Justice Perspective. (2000, 4th Edition). (co-edited with Robert G. Culbertson). Waveland Press. A collection of previously published articles covering issues related to juvenile delinquency and the juvenile justice system. Intended as an introduction to the topic of juvenile justice. (4th Edition in preparation)

Domestic Marijuana: A Neglected Industry. (1992). Greenwood Publishing Company. A study of commercial domestic marijuana growers, based on interviews with growers, enforcement officers, and those connected to the growing industry.

Drugs, Crime, and the Criminal Justice System. (1990). An edited book of original contributions for Anderson Publishing Company as part of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences' book series, Issues in Crime and Justice. The focus of the book is on issues related to drug policy and the enforcement of drug law violations.

Women, Crime, and Criminal Justice. (1988). (with Sue Mahan). Anderson Publishing Company. An overview of what is known about women as offenders, victims, and criminal justice employees.

Dr. Weisheit has also served as series editor for the ACJS/Anderson Monograph series of books, Issues in Crime and Justice. He has been on the editorial advisory board of three journals, as well as a manuscript reviewer for over a dozen journals. He has eight times served on the program committee for the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the national organization for criminal justice.


Dr. Weisheit has been involved in a number of research projects, utilizing a variety of research techniques, including interviews, mail surveys, telephone surveys, the re-analysis of exisiting data, and the study of historical records.

He has conducted change of venue surveys, is continuing his research on rural crime, and maintains an interest in the study of methamphetamine and of commercial marijuana cultivators.

In addition, Dr. Weisheit has conducted research on:

Gangs in Rural America, funded by the National Institute of Justice. The study analyzed data from the National Gang Survey, combined with U.S. Census data to consider patterns of gang activity in rural areas. The study also included telephone interviews with rural agencies reporting the presence of gangs in the Gang Survey. (conducted with L. Edward Wells).

Rural Crime and Rural Policing, funded by the National Institute of Justice. The study used interviews, focus groups, and official data to examine rural crime problems and the functioning of rural police. (conducted with L. Edward Wells and David N. Falcone)

Assessing the Needs of Rural Police, funded by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, this national survey of sheriffs and municipal chiefs in nonmetropolitan counties was conducted in 1996 and again in 1999.

Commercial Marijuana Growers, funded by the National Institute of Justice, based on interviews with growers, law enforcement, and others connected with the growing industry.

The Impact of Going to Jail, funded by the Illinois State Board of Education in which jail records and interviews with jail inmates were used to determine the impact of going to jail on the personal and work lives of jail inmates. (conducted with John M. Klofas).

DUI Offenders in Jail, funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in which data from a national survey of jail inmates were re-analyzed to identify differences between those in jail for DUI and those in jail for other offenses. (conducted with John M. Klofas).

The Guilty But Mentally Ill Statute in Illinois, funded by the Graduate School at Illinois State University in which the operation of the GBMI statute was examined, as well as its impact on the use of the insanity defense in Illinois. The study was based on official records, a survey of prosecutors, and telephone interviews with defense attorneys representing GBMI offenders. (conducted with John M. Klofas)

Women in the Illinois State Police, funded by the Graduate School at Illinois State University in which ISP troopers were surveyed about issues and concerns of having an increasing number of women as ISP officers.

The Changing Nature of Female Homicide Offenders, using data from the Illinois Department of Corrections to study the characteristics of women admitted to the DOC for homicide from 1940-1984 to determine whether changing female roles were reflected in the nature of female homicide.


From 1994 through 2000 Dr. Weisheit worked with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia to develop a training program for rural drug enforcement. In 1996 he assisted FLETC in the development of a training program on community policing in rural and small-town America.

In March of 1998, Dr. Weisheit appeared on in the Frontline documentary film series in a story about marijuana cultivation in the midwest. In January of 1996, Dr. Weisheit appeared on the news program 60 Minutes discussing domestic marijuana growers. His work has also been reported in a variety of magazines and newspapers, including The Atlantic Monthly, U.S. News & World Report, and U.S.A. Today. In addition, he has provided background information for dozens of articles and news programs.

In 1995, Dr. Weisheit was appointed to serve on two task forces for the American Society of Criminology -- The Task Force on Police, and The Task Force on Drugs. These task force reports were presented to the Attorney General of the United States.

In 1989 Dr. Weisheit was named Outstanding University Researcher at Illinois State University. In March of 1994 Dr. Weisheit received the Academy Fellow Award by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences for his scholarly contributions to the field of criminal justice. In early 1998 Dr. Weisheit was named Distinguished Professor at Illinois State University.