Leon Pettiway


Criminal Justice

  • pettiway@indiana.edu
IU Bloomington

Full Biography

Professor Pettiway holds a doctoral degree in urban geography. One of his primary research interests is the integration of geographical and criminological theories to explain patterns of crime in urban areas. He has published a series of articles on the impact of ghettoization on patterns of arson and the roles of environmental and individual factors in arson for revenge. Another focus of Professor Pettiway’s work has been the relationship between an individual’s drug use, criminal participation, and the formation of crime partnerships. He has completed a large-scale, four-year project that was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on the criminal behavior of adult opiate and cocaine users. In that study, Professor Pettiway investigated the criminal decision making of addicts and nonusers in light of various environmental cues, including environmental crime prevention strategies, to determine whether offenders who are deterred in one setting seek other crime locations. His first book, Honey, Honey, Miss Thang: Being Black, Gay, and on the Streets, is an examination of the lives of drug addicted, gay transvestites who commit a variety of crimes, including acts of prostitution. His second book, Workin’ It: Women Living Through Drugs and Crime, is an examination of drug use and crime participation among a group of inner-city women. Currently Professor Pettiway’s intellectual work centers around the construction of knowledge and the manner in which Eastern and Western Philosophical traditions might be integrated into criminological discourse and criminal justice practice.  As such, one fundamental questions centers on the manner in which various wisdom traditions might inform the study and practice of justice in the United States. Professor Pettiway teaches courses on urban crime patterns, drug use and criminal behavior, theories of crime and deviance, and quantitative methods.