Dr James Clinton Oleson

B.A., M.Phil., J.D., Ph.D. (Cantab)

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Associate Professor


James C. Oleson earned his B.A. in psychology and anthropology from St. Mary’s College of California, his M.Phil and Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Cambridge, and his J.D. from the law school at the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall).

Between 2001 and 2004, he taught criminology and sociology at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia, where in 2004 he was selected as the university’s “rising star professor” and in 2005 was named the distance learning professor of the year.

In 2004, he also was selected as one of the four U.S. Supreme Court Fellows for the 2004-05 year (and was later selected from that group as the 2004-2005 Tom C. Clark Fellow). After the end of the fellowship year, he was appointed as Chief Counsel to the newly-formed Criminal Law Policy Staff of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and he served in that capacity between 2005 and 2010.

Since arriving at the University of Auckland in 2010, he has taught in the areas of psychological criminology, sentencing, and penology.

Research | Current

  • Criminology, including aetiology and criminological theory
  • Crimes of elite offenders, especially those with high IQ scores
  • Self-report measures of crime
  • Penology and punishment theory, especially incarceration and capital punishment
  • Sentencing, sentencing guidelines, evidence-based sentencing, and risk assessment in sentencing
  • Crime in popular culture, novels, television, and film
  • Serial homicide, including its social construction

Teaching | Current

CRIM 202 Contemporary Issues in Punishment

Postgraduate supervision

Suraya Dewing, ‘Women among Men: Human Rights Jurisprudence and Pre-operative Male-to-Female Transgender Imprisonment’ (MA in Sociology, completed 2013)

Robert Fleet, ‘An Investigation of Predator-Prey Modelling and Network Analysis for use with Crime Mapping and Intelligence Gathering’ (MA in Criminology, completed 2013)

Jennifer Garnett, ‘A Civilized Society? The Expansion of Preventive Detention in New Zealand’ (MA in Criminology, completed 2013) 


Who’s Who in the World (2013 & 2014)

2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century (2013)

Who’s Who in Social Science Education (2010)

Meritorious Service Award, Administrative Office of the US Courts (2008)

Tom C. Clark Fellow, United States Supreme Court (2005)

California Law Review Alumni of the Year (2005)

TELETECHNET Instructor of the Year, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia (2005)

Who’s Who among American Teachers (2004 & 2005)

Areas of expertise

Psychological Criminology, Genius, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Courts, Trials, Sentencing, Penology

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Book Review Editor, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology

Consortium Member, Global Centre for Evidence-based Corrections and Sentencing, Griffith University

Community Advisory Group for New Zealand Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Courts

Editorial Board of The Qualitative Report

Member, U.S. Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association

Member, Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology 

Member, American Society of Criminology

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Oleson, J. C., Lowenkamp, C. T., Wooldredge, J., VanNostrand, M., & Cadigan, T. P. (2017). The sentencing consequences of federal pretrial supervision. Crime & Delinquency, 63 (3), 313-333. 10.1177/0011128714551406
  • Oleson, J. C., Lowenkamp, C. T., Cadigan, T. P., VanNostrand, M., & Wooldredge, J. (2016). The effect of pretrial detention on sentencing in two federal districts. Justice Quarterly, 33 (6), 1103-1122. 10.1080/07418825.2014.959035
  • Oleson, J. C. (2015). Habitual criminal legislation in New Zealand: Three years of three-strikes. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 48 (2), 277-292. 10.1177/0004865814532660
  • Oleson, J. C. (2014). A decoupled system: Federal criminal justice and the structural limits of transformation. Justice System Journal, 35 (4), 383-409. 10.1080/0098261X.2014.965856
  • Oleson, J. C. (2012). Dissecting the Serial Killer: Toward a Typology of Serial Homicide. In D. A. Dabney (Ed.) Crime Types: A Text Reader. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
  • Oleson, J. C., & Chappell, R. (2012). Self-Reported Violent Offending Among Subjects with Genius-Level IQ Scores. Journal of Family Violence, 27 (8), 715-730. 10.1007/s10896-012-9468-7
  • Oleson, J. C. (2011). Blowing out all the candles: Some thoughts on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. University of Richmond Law Review, 692-763.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/13748
  • Oleson, J. (2011). Risk in Sentencing: Constitutionally Suspect Variables and Evidence-Based Sentencing. SMU Law Review, 64 (4), 1329-1402.


Contact details

Office hours

By appointment.

Primary office location

58 SYMONDS ST - Bldg 435
Level 6, Room 630
New Zealand

Web links