John Kramer

Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Penn State University

Areas of Expertise

  • Sentencing reform
  • Capital punishment
  • Specialty courts
  • Drug treatment programs

Key Findings

  • Drug and alcohol treatment programs reduce the likelihood of recidivism for offenders addicted to drugs or alcohol. MORE
  • Treatment completion is a key component to reducing recidivism rates, with treatment lasting up to 16 months being the most effective. MORE
  • Social and economic characteristics such as full-time employment and being married are important variables in offender rehabilitation success rates. MORE


John Kramer, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Penn State University, is an expert in courts, sentencing, corrections, drug treatment programs and decision-making in the criminal justice system.

Kramer served as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing from 1979-1998, where he wrote, implemented and monitored sentencing guidelines for Pennsylvania’s courts. He served as the Staff Director of the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 1996-1998, where he supervised the Commission staff. He was PI of a National Science Foundation grant that studied the federal courts. He has received several awards for his work in the field including the Pioneer Award from the National Association of Sentencing Commissions; the Lifetime Service Award from the Division on Sentencing and Corrections from the American Society of Criminology (2016) .

He has published in numerous academic journals, including Justice Quarterly, The Sociological Quarterly, Criminology and Crime and Delinquency.

Kramer received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Iowa.