This past March I travelled to Kansas City Missouri to attend the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) annual conference.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the ACJS it is one of the main criminal justice societies in the United States together with the American Society of Criminology (ASC). On their website they describe the ACJS as, “an international association established in 1963 to foster professional and scholarly activities in the field of criminal justice. ACJS promotes criminal justice education, research, and policy analysis within the discipline of criminal justice for both educators and practitioners.”
From the moment, I arrived at the conference I was immediately taken back by its sheer size. Upon my arrival, I was given the conference program which resembled a phone book showing that the conference was being attended by around 1500 delegates. Such a large group of criminal justice researchers attending the same event meant that it was always easy to find a session of interest to attend.
My presentation was put into a session entitled Comparative/International Criminal Justice/International and Transnational Crime Paper Session. Normally I find myself grouped together with other researchers doing research on legal highs or other drugs however the broad nature of this session meant that I was presenting my research on legal highs together with researchers who were conducting research on a wide variety of topics.
For example, my session included two presentations on wildlife crimes such as rhino poaching as well as a presentation on Child Labor/Trafficking in Nigeria. Despite this wide range in presentation topics, the turnout for the session was pretty good and the attendees asked some interesting questions during the Q and A session following our presentations. Overall my presentation went well and I was happy to share my research with individuals who were a lot less familiar with the legal high market than my typical audience.
Overall my experience at the conference was a good one and I would definitely try to attend one of their events in the future. I would also recommend the event to other early stage researchers as it provides excellent opportunities to talk with the major book publishers about publishing your first monograph as well as providing excellent career resources with workshops on navigating the job market in criminal justice/criminology as well as the employment exchange which allows jobs seekers to directly speak with a large group of recruiters.
Well that sums up my first attendance to the ACJS conference. I hope it will be the first of many to come.