Tributes to Roger Hood

Roger Hood"We note with sadness the recent death of Professor Roger Hood, distinguished criminologist and founding director of the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. We take inspiration from the career of a scholar who, in the words of Carolyn Hoyle and Lucia Zedner, ‘believed that criminology should not only be an academic discipline but also a resource to be deployed in the struggle for both legal and social justice’."

Centre for Crime, Law and Justice at the University of New South Wales

"I was very fortunate to meet with Professor Hood, having long admired the great scope and impact of his work. He generously gave his time to a wide-ranging discussion; threading together academic, legal and political communities with such purpose, expertise and intuition. I left feeling so encouraged and optimistic. We can be certain that the anti-death penalty movement will continue to draw much inspiration and momentum from his work, Professor Hood having demonstrated that global reform is within our grasp."

Matt Goldberg, Human Rights Barrister

"Roger was a world-renowned scholar who made a lasting and significant contribution to Criminology through his research and leadership. I found him to be an extremely generous colleague and a wonderful host whenever I visited Oxford. My late friend and colleague Richard Ericson had on many occasions expressed admiration for Roger’s scholarship and appreciation for his friendship and humanity."

Janet Chan, UNSW Law

"Roger’s influence as a scholar, and the affection with which he was held, stretched afar, including to my home, Australia. We will miss his warm conviviality that always made it such a pleasure to chat with him, his insights, and the lovely character that was Roger."

John Braithwaite, Australian National University

"I heard of Roger Hood's death with great sadness.  He and I go back a long time - he was the examiner for my MA dissertation at Keele University in 1978. Thereafter, our paths often crossed. I was last in touch with him a couple of years ago when I asked for his advice about a student I was supervising in relation to the death penalty.  He replied by return with helpful advice, as always.  
His courtesy, kindness and scholarship will always be valued and will be greatly missed."

John Pratt, ​Victoria University of Wellington

"I was very sad to hear about Roger's death. While I was the Director of CESDIP and later of GERN, we had a number of cooperations with the Oxford Centre of Criminology. Although I haven't had much contact with Roger since he formally retired, I remember him as a very congenial and generous colleague. He not only gave me a chance to present a paper at a seminar at All Souls, but a few years later gave me the opportunity to stay at one of the college's residences for a few weeks, when I needed some quiet place to write. It was a unique experience for me to be invited at the table of the college and enjoy the excellent company, food and wine, the choice of which I know was an important part of Roger's duties as warden. I was also invited to a lovely evening at his home where I met his late wife."

René Lévy, CESDIP

"Roger was a wonderful teacher, supervisor, colleague, and friend, and he will be greatly missed. Many years ago when I approached him to see if he would be my doctoral supervisor, he asked me to send him a short research proposal to consider. Soon after I sent it to him I got it back covered in comments and suggestions, with a request that I revise it and send a new version. I did, and a few days later it came back with more comments and suggestions. I think I ended up sending Roger five or six versions (it felt like many more) before I finally plucked up the courage to ask him whether he would take me on as his doctoral student. Looking somewhat confused, he said "Yes" and implied that he had decided soon after he read the first proposal. When I then asked him why he had me re-write the proposal so many times, he said he just wanted to help me make it clearer and better. In the years that followed, Roger read every piece of writing I ever gave him with a degree of care and attention that I have rarely seen since, and the lessons I learned from him about writing and scholarship have stayed with me to this day. A great loss and I will miss him deeply."

Benjamin Goold, Peter A Allard School of Law 

"Professor Roger Hood has inspired generations of criminologists not only at Oxford Centre for Criminology but also around the world. I am grateful for having learned from you, Carolyn, the importance of fighting actively for the causes we believe in, such as the abolition of the death penalty. And this passionate academic engagement is Professor Hood’s greatest legacy."

Gabriel Campos, Centre for Criminology

"I studied for the MSc in Criminology in 2008-9 and then continued to a DPhil. Throughout my time at Oxford, Roger was welcoming and encouraging. He tolerated my naivety at times and helped to nudge me in the right direction. Especially at the start of my DPhil studies this was really appreciated. I was also very grateful for how kind and welcoming he was to my partner Jenny, who he helped to feel at home in the rather strange (to a non-academic!) world of Oxford. It was always a joy to bump into Roger on my occasional returns to Oxford in the last few years, and it feels a real sadness to know that will not happen again."

Harry Annison,Southampton Law School

"Although I encountered Roger’s academic work very early on in my career, I have not known him personally for very long. We first met at a death penalty conference in Hong Kong about 10 years ago and kept in touch occasionally since then. I remember particularly the time when Roger and Nancy very kindly invited me to dinner at their lovely home in Oxford in 2013. The warmth and sincerity I experienced remains with me. Roger is one of only a handful of people I have known who combined a first class mind with a heart of gold. He was, and still is, an abiding inspiration to all of us who are working towards a more humane criminal justice system the world over. Please accept my condolences and rest in the assurance that his life has had a truly global impact for good."

Michael Hor, University of Hong Kong

"I think of Roger as a kind of ‘father of British criminology’. He has been there throughout my professional life – steadfast in his support and kindness, an inspiration in his own leadership and passion for justice, and a much loved professional friend. I have so many memories of being with and around him – even at an art exhibition in Australia. His smile, and his openness, are very easy to summon. My generation were so lucky to have him standing in the background (when he was not in the foreground) throughout his long life. I am so sorry for your loss – we share in it and feel it too."

Alison Liebling, University of Cambridge

"It was with great sadness that I learned of Roger's death, and I would be grateful if you could pass on my condolences to his family.
Roger was so encouraging of me in my own career - both whilst I was still a Prison Governor, and then afterwards when I went back into academia.  He was also an enthusiastic supporter of HMP Grendon which, as you know, remains very close to my heart.
An inspiring man that Criminology will greatly miss."

David Wilson, Birmingham City University

"Roger was a rigorous and supportive scholar and a gracious host.  For many of us in the U.S., his pathbreaking work on the death penalty was particularly helpful.  For me, he was the epitome of Oxford’s greatness." 

Christopher Slobogin, Vanderbilt University 

"My sincerest condolences on the passing of Professor Roger Hood. I am privileged to have met Roger in Oxford, and his presence will continue to be felt here. I remember fondly his kindness and generosity to me as a young scholar trying to make my way in the discipline. My warmest wishes are with you all."

Gabrielle Watson, Roger Hood Prize Winner (2012), Centre for Criminology 

"I got to know Roger when we were both regular invitees in the 1980s at what were then the NACRO Headquarters in Brixton attending a discussion group jointly convened by Vivien Stern, then NACRO CEO and David Faulkner, then in the Home Office. That discussion group comprising ‘insiders’ (senior civil servants)  and ‘outsiders’ (academic researchers) has gone down in the annals and as far as I am aware never been repeated. We learned to trust and appreciate each other. Roger, softly spoken and always cogently expressed, never failed to find an historical or international example providing good evidence as to why a particular policy initiative might prove unwise or another  worth exploring. He also had a fund of amusing anecdotes which he delivered with a delightfully snuffly chuckle. We were not that far far apart in age, but in the ‘80s I was a rather gauche late developer and Roger was already a sophisticated old hand. He occasionally gave me advice warning that I should resist intemperate action. I valued his advice but didn’t always take it, probably unwisely. He was one of those travellers on the criminological road whose company I always valued with affection. I think we last spoke on the Tube travelling from the Middle Temple to Paddington, coming away from a memorial event for Louis Blom-Cooper. I shall miss Roger’s cherubic smile."

Rod Morgan, University of Bristol

 I am reaching out to offer my condolences for the loss of Roger Hood on behalf of the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law at the University of Oslo. I was planning to send a card and flowers to the Centre for Criminology, but realised that there probably are no one there to receive or enjoy these, therefore this delayed e-mail. I, and many of my colleagues, knew Roger and his work well, and we have received him several times at the department, to the best of my knowledge, the first time in the 1980s. Nils and Katja have both given the Annual Roger Hood lecture, and Roger was key in the series of seminars on the death penalty that we organised some years back. He has been a great resource to Norwegian criminology. I hope that you are able to convey my condolences on behalf of his friends and colleagues in Oslo to his family.

May-Len Skilbrei, University of Oslo

Professor Renwen Liu, the Director of Criminal Law Department of CASS Institute of Law and I were shocked by the sad news that Roger passed away, and I am writing on behalf of both of us to express our deep sympathy.

Roger was an internationally renowned scholar and such a kind and warm-hearted friend. We had the honor of co-translated the Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, one of his numerous great works, and published it in China in 2004, and sharing his straightforward intelligent thoughts and ideas on criminal justice and criminal law reforms at various occasions in following years. His smiles are still so vivid in our minds. 

By his untimely passing, we lost an excellent scholar, a thoughtful instructor and a good friend. He will be greatly missed by all who met him.

Renwen Liu and Zhenjie Zhou, Cass Institute of Law

If you would like your tribute to Roger to be included in this collection please email Clare Oxenbury-Palmer.