Dr. Risdon N. Slate is currently Professor of Criminology and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Prior to his arrival in Florida, Ris taught criminal justice full-time at the University of Maine at Augusta, Maine. He obtained his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California, Master of Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, and B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina.
Dr. Slate has served as a gubernatorial appointee on Florida’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Commission. He has also testified before a U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on the impact of the mentally ill on the criminal justice system – with legislation establishing Federal funding for mental health courts being implemented following his panel’s testimony.
In addition to his current position on the National Board, Risdon is currently 2nd Vice President of the state of Florida’s National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) organization and has served as past president of his local affiliate in Polk County Florida. He is on the Board of Directors for Partners in Crisis in Florida as well. Risdon has worked on various mental health/criminal justice initiatives with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Council of State Governments, the Department of Justice, the Police Executive Research Forum, the National Institute of Corrections, and the National GAINS Center.
Before becoming a professor, Dr. Slate worked within the justice system as a correctional administrator at Central Correctional Institution in Columbia, South Carolina. He is also a former Federal probation officer. Dr. Slate has published articles on the topic of mental health courts and on the subject of probation officers as mental health specialists. He has spoken nationally on issues concerning mental illness and the criminal justice system and serves as a media consultant and trainer on law enforcement handling of persons with mental illness in crisis.