Why don’t people break the law? Craig to share insight at Great Conversations event

Great Conversations 2017

When: Feb. 28 (Tuesday), beginning at 6 p.m.

Where: Clubroom of UNT’s Apogee Stadium, 1251 S. Bonnie Brae St. in Denton.

Cost:    $75; parking is free. Go to the Great Conversations website to identify a table leader and purchase tickets.

Contact:  Diana Dunklau in the UNT Honors College at 940-565-2474 or diana.dunklau@unt.edu.

Great Conversations is an annual dinner benefiting the University of North Texas Honors College, with stimulating conversation as the main purpose. Assistant professor of criminal justice Jessica Craig, Ph.D., will lead discussion on the topic, Not Likely to Make a Law and Order Episode But - Why do People NOT Break the Law?

As a criminologist, Jessica Craig investigates different theories that seek to answer the question “Why do people break the law?” While that is an interesting question, an alternative perspective may ask why do people not break the law. In her research, Dr. Craig looks at several different factors and how they may either push us into crime or prevent us from offending. She is interested in having a dialogue with others about these protective and risk factors, potentially helping others to see there is much more to criminal behavior than just what we see on TV.

CraigJessica M. Craig is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of North Texas. She received her Bachelors of Science in Sociology and Psychology from Texas A& M University in 2011. She received both her Masters of Science (2013) and Ph.D. (2015) in Criminology from the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Craig’s research interests include investigating crime over the life course and differences in these effects by race/ethnicity and gender. For instance, she has focused on the role of key life transitions such as marriage in promoting desistance from crime and if this effect differs by gender, race, and ethnicity. She is also interested in the role of individual differences in offending; her dissertation investigated the role of several personality traits in predicting white-collar crime. Her other research projects have centered on delinquency, testing criminological theories, sentencing, and the use of advanced research methodologies. Some of her recent work has been published in Journal of Criminal Justice, Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, Crime & Delinquency, and Deviant Behavior.


How do you juggle the schedule of a presidential candidate? How can health care professionals and others identify human trafficking? What prevents people from not breaking laws?

Those who attend Great Conversations 2017 — an annual dinner benefiting the University of North Texas Honors College — on Feb. 28 (Tuesday) could learn the answers to these and many other questions.

Great Conversations allows participants to choose to be seated for dinner at a table hosted by a specific conversation leader. The conversation leaders —faculty at UNT, notable UNT alumni and Denton community leaders — will begin the dinner conversations by discussing their expertise. No more than eight people are seated at each table. 

This year’s dinner begins at 6 p.m. in the clubroom of UNT’s Apogee Stadium, which is located at 1251 S. Bonnie Brae St. Tickets cost $75 per person and must be purchased at the Honors College website. Proceeds from the event directly benefit Honors College students by supporting scholarships and programming.

Several alumni of UNT, the Honors College or the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, UNT’s residential program for high-achieving high school students, are among the 26 conversation leaders this year. The conversation leaders include:

 Denton attorney Sara Bagheri, founder of Denton Community Market and an at-large member of the Denton City Council.

 Criminologist Jessica M. Craig, assistant professor in UNT’s Department of Criminal Justice, who has researched factors that lead people to commit crimes as well as prevent them from breaking the law.

 Honors College alumna Megan O’Brien, an associate at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in College Station, and a scheduler for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

∙ Ed Soph, professor of jazz studies in UNT’s College of Music, who is known for his 20 years of involvement in health and safety issues in Denton.

∙ Katy Wesley, a 2006 graduate of the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science and creator of a training module to help health care professionals better address human trafficking. Wesley is a third-year resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Scott and White Medical Center in Temple.

For more information about Great Conversations, contact Diana Dunklau in the UNT Honors College at 940-565-2474 ordiana.dunklau@unt.edu, or go to the event's website to see a complete list of table hosts and to purchase tickets online.

By Nancy Kolsti, News Promotions