Craig Haney is an American social psychologist and a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, noted for his work on the study of the psychological impact of solitary confinement and prison isolation from the 1970's on. He obtained his B.A from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.A., Ph.D. in Psychology and J.D. in Law from Stanford University. He is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology, and Director of the program in Legal Studies and the UCSC Presidential Chair (for a three year term which runs from 2015 until 2018) at the aforementioned University of California Santa Cruz, where he has been a member the faculty for some 39 years.
In 1973, while at Stanford, Haney had the opportunity to work in support of his famed colleague, Dr. Philip Zimbardo. Their collaboration formed what is known today as The Stanford Prison Experiment, for which Haney served as a principal researcher. This experience help to set in course Haney’s subsequent career and work with prison systems. The simultaneously staged and real time academic drama at Stanford ingrained in Haney that.... “context matters, prisoners are people, mistreatment has consequences”. This foundation perpetuated Haney’s passion regarding the psychological impact of incarceration (e.g., mental illness) and his advocacy for humanization and reform.
During his professional career Haney has published a panalopy of works, including five books, numerous research articles and entries in law reviews. His 2006 book, Reforming Punishment: Psychological Limits to the Pains of Imprisonment, published by the American Psychological Association in 2006, was nominated for a National Book Award. His latest book, Prisons Worldwide (coauthored with Lynne Haney) is forthcoming in December 2016. Haney has also written for the Huffington Post.
Haney has served as an expert witness in several influential United States Federal Court cases related to the prison environment and punishment, including; Toussaint v. McCarthy (1984), Madrid v. Gomez (1995), Coleman v. Brown (1995), and Ruiz v. Johnson (1999). Moreover, Haney was influential in the United States Supreme Court 5-4 ruling of Brown v. Plata (2011), which upheld a lower court ruling that the California prison population be reduced. Commenting on this last case, Haney stated: "When prisons are unduly painful, they become harmful and the system begins to break down and fail." He noted further, "Prisoners can carry the consequences of that harm back out into the free world once they're released. I was very gratified to see the Supreme Court embrace that concept”.
In 2012, Haney testified before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on “Reassessing Solitary Confinement”. In 2014, he spoke on the National Public Radio program, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, about the impacts of solitary confinement.
At University of California, Santa Cruz, Haney was selected as the University’s Distinguished Faculty Research Lecturer in 2014. He has taught Psychology and Law I & II, Social Justice, Society, and Policy, and Graduate Research Methods, The Social Context. His work with students involves applied research on prisons with topics including: criminogenic social histories and the impact of pretrial publicity on legal decision making.