John Oliver is The Crime Report’s “Person of the Year”

John Oliver is The Crime Report’s “Person of the Year”

John Oliver is The Crime Report’s “Person of the Year”

New York, NY, December 17, 2015 –The Crime Report has selected HBO talk show host John Oliver as the 2015 criminal justice “Person of the Year,” in recognition of his “probing, acerbic” programs on corrections reform, prisoner re-entry and other criminal justice issues.

Oliver’s Last Week Tonight  programs “have not only galvanized millions of viewers; they appear to have significantly improved the climate for reform,” said Stephen Handelman, editor of The Crime Report, in announcing Oliver’s “overwhelming” choice by a majority of  TCR readers in the online site’s annual year-end survey.

Runners-up in the 2015 top choices for the year’s most significant players in criminal justice were President Barack Obama and the generic category of “America’s Police Chiefs.”

Noting that TCR readers are “among the most informed and professionally active players in the nation’s criminal justice world,” Handelman said the choice of Oliver not only reflects “high praise (but) even a little bit of envy” at the British-born comedy host’s effectiveness in bringing to light complex issues that have received too little public attention.

The Crime Report also recently announced that the Black Lives Matter movement was the dominant criminal justice news story of 2015. Read more.

 “Oliver would be the first to concede that he considers himself an entertainer—not a journalist—and certainly not, in his public life at least, an advocate,” Handelman said. “But as our readers made clear, such ‘categories’ are irrelevant at a time when Americans are searching for an alternative framework to understand and digest the often-painful headlines that have dominated the year in criminal justice.”

 President Obama was lauded by TCR readers for his effective use of the presidential “bully pulpit” in criminal justice reform—specifically in the areas of policing, racial inequities in justice and prison reform.  At the same time, the men and women who lead the nation’s police departments were recognized as a group for their role in the nation’s tense debate about where to strike the balance between the protection of public safety and aggressive policing.

“It’s a worth noting that a broad consensus of chiefs dedicated to change is emerging around the country,” Handelman said.

For the full story of this year’s choices of Newsmaker and a special profile of John Oliver, please click here.  To see TCR’s selection of the “Top Ten” criminal justice news stories and developments of 2015, announced last week, please click here.

The Crime Report is the nation’s most comprehensive online digest of criminal justice news, commentary and research, published daily as a partnership between John Jay College’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice and Criminal Justice Journalists, representing crime and justice reporters around the country.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York (CUNY) is the nation’s pre-eminent academic institution devoted to educating for justice.  It offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. For more information, visit