FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

James F. Gilligan, MD

NYU School of Medicine
Adjunct Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
New York, NY, USA


James Gilligan, M.D., is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Law, School of Law, New York University.  He has specialized in studying the causes and prevention of violence as a problem in public health and preventive medicine.  As Director of the Institute of Law and Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, where he was on the faculty from 1966 to 2000, he directed mental health services for the Massachusetts prisons and prison mental hospital (1977-92).  During 1993 and 1994 he was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Criminology of Cambridge University in England.  From 2003-2006 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, in the Schools of Medicine and of Public Policy and Practice, and in the Department of Criminology.  He has served as a consultant on violent crimes and punishments to President Clinton, Tony Blair, M.P., the Senior Law Lords of the House of Lords, the Secretary General of the United Nations, the World Court in the Hague, the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum, among other officials and institutions.  He is a past President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy.  He is the author of Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic, Preventing Violence: Prospects for Tomorrow, and Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others, and dozens of journal, textbook and encyclopedia articles and book chapters.  He has served as an expert witness in litigation and class-action suits regarding prison policies and practices throughout the U.S. for the past several decades, at least two of which have led to significant Supreme Court decisions.  He helped to draft the law that became the National Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003.  In 2004, a violence-prevention experiment in the San Francisco jails for which he was the principal investigator achieved a virtually complete reduction in both in-house violence and violent recidivism, for which it won the “Innovations in American Government Award” from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, in a competition among more than eight hundred nominees from around the country.  He was honored with the 2003 Achievement Award of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from a consortium of violence-prevention advocacy organizations at the Alliant International University, San Diego, in 2011.
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