Life after UMass Amherst takes many shapes and forms. For Professor Emeritus Roland Chilton, retirement from teaching sociology has led to continued research, lectures, and connection with the university.
“For the last few years, I have been working with Professor Wenona Rymond-Richmond, a faculty member in the Sociology Department, as we try to learn what available crime statistics tell us about the impact of drug arrests on incarceration rates. I hope we will be able to use some of the same data to study gun violence and mass murder in the near future.”
A specialist in criminology, Chilton has long been involved in research and was one of the principal creators of the criminal justice concentration at the flagship campus in the 70s.
Chilton is a former president of the American Society of Criminology and served on the staff of President Lyndon Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. He taught at UMass Amherst for 40 years, retiring in 2008.
“My long term focus was on finding and analyzing dependable crime data, initially working with data tapes from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports Section and other statistical agencies,” he remarks. “In some ways the field was and is data starved, but the FBI introduced an incident-based approach to developing annual crime reports in about 1985. By the turn of the century, a large enough number of police agencies were using this approach that analysis of crime trends became more interesting.”
A resident of Applewood Retirement Community, Chilton is also the President of the Applewood Advisory Board and a member of the Lecture Committee. “I have remained active since my retirement, analyzing crime data, attending conferences, writing papers, and giving an occasional lecture,” he says.
“Applewood has turned out to be a good place to live and work as the limitations that accompany ageing slowly, or sometimes suddenly, increase. I can continue to work in my field because it does not require a laboratory, but only a good computer and a high-speed Internet connection,” he shares.
For those who can’t work in this fashion, programs like Learning in Retirement at Applewood provide a way to continue to learn and teach new topics in new areas according to Chilton. “Moreover, a series of Saturday morning talks, programs, and lectures of all kinds during the week keep things interesting and the mind active.”
Looking forward, Chilton is eager to continue making contributions to the field of criminology while sharing his knowledge with peers and fellow retirees.
About The Loomis Communities:
The Loomis Communities has been a visionary in exceptional senior living throughout the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. It was the first organization in the state to open a continuing care retirement community.
With a mission of enriching the lives of older adults, The Loomis Communities offers independent living apartments and cottages, assisted living and skilled nursing care on three campuses in the Pioneer Valley: Applewood in Amherst, Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing in Springfield, and Loomis Village in South Hadley.
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