George L. Kelling

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George L. Kelling
George Lee Kelling

(1935-08-21)21 August 1935
Died15 May 2019(2019-05-15) (aged 83)
Alma materNorthwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary
St. Olaf College (B.A.)
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (M.S.W.)
University of Wisconsin–Madison (Ph.D)
Scientific career

George Lee Kelling (August 21, 1935 – May 15, 2019) was an American criminologist, a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University–Newark,[1] a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research,[2] and a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He previously taught at Northeastern University.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kelling attended Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary to study theology for two years, but earned no degree. He received a B.A. in philosophy from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, an M.S.W. from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in social welfare from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1973, under Alfred Kadushin.

Early in his career, he was a child care counselor and a probation officer, but his later career was spent in academia. The author of numerous articles, he developed the broken windows theory with James Q. Wilson and Kelling's wife, Catherine M. Coles that led to the mass incarceration of African-Americans in impoverished U.S. cities beginning in the mid-1980s. Kelling died in Hanover, New Hampshire on May 15, 2019 from complications of cancer at the age of 83.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Kelling was married twice, first to Sally Jean Mosiman, from whom he became divorced, and then to Catherine M. Coles, an attorney and a lawyer and anthropologist studying urban issues and criminal prosecution,[4] whom Kelling married in 1982.[3]


  1. ^ "Emeritus Professors". Rutgers School of Criminal Justice - Center for Law and Justice. Rutgers School of Criminal Justice. Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  2. ^ "George L. Kelling". Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b Roberts, Sam (May 15, 2019). "George L. Kelling, a Father of 'Broken Windows' Policing, Is Dead at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  4. ^ "The Promise of Public Order". The Atlantic. January 1997.

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