School of Criminal Justice

John Hewitt

John D. Hewitt
Professor of Criminal Justice 

267 DeVos                                         Phone:     (616) 331-7145
School of Criminal Justice                Fax:         (616) 331-7155
Grand Valley State University           Email:
401 W. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Dr. Hewitt was born in Carmel, California, grew up in Muncie, Indiana, and did his undergraduate work at Western Washington State College in Bellingham, Washington. He received his B.A. degree in History with a concentration in Chinese history and a minor in Sociology. His Ph.D. in Sociology was completed at Washington State University. His teaching spans 45 years at small and large state colleges and universities as well as in small liberal arts colleges in Arizona, Washington, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Professor Hewitt’s research and writing over the decades have focused on disparities in judicial sentencing, the effects of sentencing reform efforts, historical patterns in crime, and how adult oppression of children contributes to delinquency. Most recently, he has been exploring the role of race in the valuing of baseball and football cards and the criminological insights found in the lyrics of songs by Johnny Cash. Dr. Hewitt’s teaching at GVSU typically includes courses on juvenile justice, youth crime, the senior Capstone, and introduction to criminal justice.


I am finally retiring after 45 years of teaching at the college and university level, with the last 15 years of my career having been here at GVSU in the School of Criminal Justice. I have been blessed with having had the opportunity to touch the lives of a great many students over the years; slightly over 10,000 directly in the classroom and just over 191,000 in the United States, Canada, and Europe who have used (or at least had in their possession) one or more of my textbooks (new or used copies) in their classes. I have also been fortunate to teach with and engage in scholarship with a number of colleagues at Grand Valley and other universities.  Scholarly research is one of the primary responsibilities of university faculty, and these efforts often produce new knowledge or new takes on “old” knowledge. The product of this activity then gets shared with students in the classroom and disseminated to students and faculty around the world in books and articles. I have been fortunate to have had my research widely published and recognized as making a real contribution to our discipline, as reflected in more than 400 citations in scholarly publications, and over 150 citations from a single article published in the journal, Social Forces

The nature of universities and the role of professors have changed a great deal over these past four and a half decades, and I must admit I am looking forward to very different challenges and opportunities, not least of which is improving my guitar playing and writing and publishing my music. I will be retiring to the Seattle area in the Pacific Northwest, but plan to return to West Michigan often to visit my daughter, son-in-law, and four grandsons.




Page last modified April 8, 2014