Assistant professor of criminology, law and society studies end of life in prison
Christopher Seeds, assistant professor of criminology, law and society, has been awarded a $50,000 UCI Hellman Fellowship. Bestowed annually to support research by junior faculty, Seeds is studying: “Care in the End: Understanding Incarcerated People’s Decisions about End of Life and Best Practices for Prison Hospice.”
Seeds is among seven fellow UCI assistant professors named Hellman Fellows this year. They join an elite group of 63 UCI Hellman Fellows since 2013, when the Hellman Fellows Fund established the program here. The program began in 1995 at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego and has since expanded organically to all UC institutions. In 2020, after 25 years of funding the program, the Hellman family generously established an endowment to continue in perpetuity across UC’s 10 campuses.
The other 2021-22 UCI awardees are Adriana Villavicencio, assistant professor of education; Vibhuti Ramachandran, assistant professor of global and international studies; Celia Symons, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Judit Romhanyi, assistant professor of physics; Adeyemi Adeleye, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen, assistant professor of law.
Seeds’ study examines the needs and concerns of incarcerated people who are elderly and chronically ill and the capacity of corrections institutions to care for them, with a particular focus on the role of the prison hospice.
The increasing portion of incarcerated people who are 55 and older is a stark feature of contemporary punishment in the United States and aging presents challenges that alter the nature of imprisonment for individuals as well as the demands placed on prisons, Seeds notes.
The study for which Seeds received the Hellman Fellowship examines the needs and concerns of incarcerated people who are elderly and chronically ill and the capacity of corrections institutions to care for them, with a particular focus on the role of the prison hospice. Overall, the research extends to a broader project that seeks to examine the aging crisis in U.S. prisons from a historical and holistic perspective, bringing issues of medical treatment and care into conversation with administrative and legal decisions about prison release.
Graduate student Joanne DeCaro is assisting Seeds with the research.
Chris and Warren Hellman began providing early-career funding to junior faculty at UC campuses and four private institutions in 1994. Since then, more than 1,900 individuals have been recipients. The grants may be used for such research purposes as equipment, travel, photography and graduate assistants. The purpose of the program is to support the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their research. Funds awarded are intended as one-time support for activities that will enhance the individual’s progress toward tenure.
Seeds earned his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University. He also has a J.D. from Cornell Law School.
Mimi Ko Cruz
Director of Communications