A giant of social work and professor at Rhode Island College, Frederic Reamer holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. (What a place, btw, this great University of Chicago. Imagining the world without its associates—from Milton Friedman, Philip Glass, and Paul Wolfowitz to Gell-Mann and Bellow, Obama and Bork, Vonnegut and Bloom—is impossible.) Reamer makes the Chicago list more distinguished yet: his seminal work in mental health, teens in crisis,
criminal justice, public welfare, and professional ethics has brought light into formerly dark corners, and added evolving science to the previously impressionist art of understanding core problems that plague our society.
A longtime adjudicator on the Rhode Island Parole Board, his view isn’t one from the Ivy Tower. Reamer believes “that justice can’t be shaped by simplistic formulas. Rather, justice happens when real human beings sort through a jumble of laws, rules, conflicting stories, and plain old instinct.” Reamer demonstrably gives a damn about the future—and less about his place in it than the place of today’s troubled teens, brutalized victims and guilty criminals. His books have real blood and people in them, and these give the theories and figures—breathtakingly imperious in too many academic studies—reality, potency and humble grace.