John J. DiIulio, Jr.

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John J. Dilulio, Jr.
Born 1958 (age 58–59)
Academic work
Institutions University of Pennsylvania
Main interests Political science

John J. Dilulio, Jr. (born 1958) is an American political scientist. He currently serves as the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society and Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.


Previously, he served as the first director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush from early 2001 to August 2001. He was the first senior Bush advisor to resign and was succeeded by Jim Towey. In a letter written a little over a year after resigning (that later was printed in Esquire), he wrote that while "President Bush is a highly admirable person of enormous personal decency," his governing style allowed certain staffers, referred to as "Mayberry Machiavellis," to "[steer] legislative initiatives or policy proposals as far right as possible." [1] In late 2008 and early 2009, DiIulio consulted with the transition team of President Barack Obama regarding the restructuring of the White House faith-based initiative.[2]

DiIulio has authored numerous studies on crime, government, and the relationship between religion and public policy. He is also the co-author of the widely used textbook American Government with James Q. Wilson, which was reviewed by the publisher and the College Board after the discovery of factual inaccuracies and allegations of conservative bias regarding issues such as global warming, school prayer, and gay rights.[3] Among those who criticized the textbook was James E. Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who wrote to the publisher that the book contained "a large number of clearly erroneous statements" which cause "the mistaken impression that the scientific evidence of global warming is doubtful and uncertain."[3]

He is also credited with coining, or at least popularizing, the term (and concept of) "superpredators" in reference to juvenile violent crime in the early 1990s.[4] Under this concept DiIulio and co-authors, William J. Bennett and John P. Walters, referred to America's youth as, "radically impulsive, [and] brutally remorseless youngsters..."[5]

Under this ideology DiIulio predicted that juvenile crime would triple by the year 2010.[6] This rapidly created a culture of fear of young people. The next few years resulted in a change of juvenile sentencing; which, would lead to many juvenile cases being treated by adult sentencing standards. According to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Office, from 1994 to 2011, murders committed by juveniles had declined by two-thirds.[7] DiIulio and other researchers had argued that juvenile crime was out of control; however, research showed that juvenile crime began to decline in the early to mid 90s.[6] In 2012 DiIulio was among the authors of a amicus brief to the Supreme Court that made this clear.[6] Shortly, after in an interview with Retro Report, DiIulio stated, "once it was out there, there was no reeling it in."[8]

He was recognized in 2010 with two awards, the Ira Abrams Memorial Award and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, for excellence in academics and teaching.[9]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • DiIulio, Jr., John J. (2005), "My Black crime problem, and ours", in Gabbidon, Shaun L.; Taylor Greene, Helen, Race, crime, and justice: a reader, New York: Routledge, pp. 73–85, ISBN 9780415947077.  Preview.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dilulio, John (23 May 2007). "John Dilulio's letter". Esquire. Hearst Communications, Inc. Retrieved 6 May 2008. 
  2. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (28 January 2009). "Leaders say Obama has tapped pastor for outreach office". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 
  3. ^ a b Associated Press (8 April 2008). "Student sees political bias in high school text: publisher now says it will review book, as will college board". MSNBC. Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  4. ^ Templeton, Robin (1 January 1998). "Superscapegoating: teen 'superpredators' hype set stage for draconian legislation". Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR). Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, Inc. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Bennett, DiIulio, & Walters, William J., John J., John P. Moral Poverty--and how to Win America's War Against Crime and Drugs. Simon & Schuster. 
  6. ^ a b c "Supreme Court of the United States" (PDF). 
  7. ^ "Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  8. ^ Haberman, Clyde (2014-04-06). "When Youth Violence Spurred 'Superpredator' Fear". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  9. ^ "John DiIulio | Political Science Department". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Director of the White House Office
of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

January 30, 2001–August 17, 2001
Succeeded by
Jim Towey