Allen, Francis A.Variant names
Francis Alfred Allen was born in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1919. After attending Cornell College in Iowa, he served in the United States Army Air Corps as a weatherman during World War II. After the war, he continued on to Northwestern University to finish his law degree in 1946. He married June Walsh in 1947, and had two children, Neil and Susan.
Allen started his teaching career at Northwestern University in 1948. He subsequently went on to teach at Harvard (1953-1956) the University of Chicago (1956-1962 and 1963-1966), and the University of Michigan (1962-1963 and 1966-1986). He became dean of the Law School at the University of Michigan from 1966 to 1971.
Allen also participated in court proceedings throughout his career. After returning from World War II, Allen served as clerk to Chief Justice Fred Vinson from 1946 to 1948. In the early 1950s, he also served as a lawyer for a short time in the Cook County criminal court in Illinois. From 1972 to 1979, he took part in Kaimowitz vs. Department of Mental Health for the State of Michigan, in which patients of a mental institution felt that they were forced against their will to participate in psychosurgical procedures because of their status in society.
Allen concentrated most of his professional efforts towards reforming criminal law in the United States, as well as analyzing the concept of rehabilitation and how it has evolved over time. He also wrote and published many works on family law and juvenile law.
Because of his role as a reformer in the field of criminal law, Allen was often called to public service. In 1961, Allen played a pivotal role in the creation of the Illinois Criminal Code. But his most important accomplishment was the chairmanship of the Attorney General's Commission on Poverty and the Administration of Federal Criminal Justice. The report of that committee directly led to the passing of the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 and the Bail Reform Act of 1966.
Allen was also the recipient of many awards during his lifetime. In 1975, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and became President of the Association of American Law Schools in 1976. Allen was a visiting expert for the Salzburg Seminar of American Studies, and a scholar in residence at the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy. He also was a visiting professor for Northwestern University, Boston College, and the University of Chicago.
After retiring from the University of Michigan in 1986, Allen moved to Gainesville, Florida, were he taught at the University of Florida until his retirement in 1994. He passed away on April 6, 2007. He was survived by his wife June and son Neil.
From the guide to the Francis A. Allen papers, 1940-2006, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)
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