Members of the law enforcement community will join students, faculty, and colleagues of Dr. Charles Chastain for a reception and dinner at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion May 17 to celebrate the UALR professor of criminal justice, who has been a guiding force in the department since the program was established 1973.
The 6 p.m. reception and 6:30 p.m. dinner at the Governor’s Mansion Grand Hall at 1800 Center St. in Little Rock will celebrate Chastain’s legacy in the central Arkansas law enforcement community, his lasting contributions to the state of Arkansas, and his leadership in UALR’s departments of criminal justice and political science.
Seating is limited, and attendees are urged to make reservations as soon as possible. Tickets are $40 per person, and proceeds will benefit the Charles Chastain Scholarship Fund. Checks made to the fund should be sent to the UALR Office of Development, 2801 S. University Ave. Little Rock, Ark. 72204 no later than May 9. For more information, contact Dr. Mary Parker, chair of the Criminal Justice Department, or Beth McDuffie at 501-569-3076.
“I do not believe anyone has made greater contributions than Dr. Chastain in the professionalization of law enforcement in Arkansas,” said UALR Chancellor Joel E. Anderson. “Few, if any faculty, could claim great influence on a larger number of students than Dr. Chastain. He was always interested in the success of his students in the classroom, and he then stayed in touch with them and helped them as professionals.
“Throughout his career as a faculty member, he has believed persons working in law enforcement, corrections, and the courts needed a liberal arts education, not just narrow professional training for the job. To that end he probably exposed criminal justice students to more lessons from the classics than they received in some of their humanities classes. The university will not be the same without him.”
Chastain coordinated or chaired the UALR criminal justice program from 1975 to 1997, and then served as the primary undergraduate student advisor, the criminal justice alumni chapter advisor, and the pre-law and legal studies advisor for the university.
During his UALR career, Chastain served on the Arkansas State Parole Board from 1993 to 2003. He also served on the board of the Law Enforcement Training Academy, and was appointed by then-Gov. Bill Clinton to the Governor’s Task Force on Crime and Justice.
He served on the board of the Substance Abuse Treatment Clinic at UAMS, the Arkansas Assisted Housing Network, and the Inmate Council of the Department of Correction Pine Bluff Unit.
His primary academic interests have been in the area of constitutional law and criminal justice careers. He also developed a course based on the “Inside-Out” model, where UALR students and prison inmates share a classroom and study the major issues in criminal justice today.
For the past decade or more, Chastain has conducted the Prison Library Project, which involves gathering books donated from UALR faculty, staff, and friends and giving them to the Arkansas Department of Correction libraries. His accomplishments with this project have been publicized in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and USA Today newspapers. He also developed a reentry into society program for inmates at the Wrightsville Unit of the Department of Correction.
Born in Ventura, Calif., Chastain earned a B.A. degree in sociology and a minor in political science from Arkansas Polytechnic College – now Arkansas Tech University. He received an M.A. degree in political science and sociology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and earned a Ph.D. in political science and the administration of justice from Southern Illinois University.