J. Thorsten Sellin (1896–1994) was a renowned sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, recognized for his work as a penologist and as one of the pioneers of scientific criminology. He taught at Penn from 1922 until he retired in 1967. Sellin was an expert in crime statistics and consulted with the FBI, the Bureau of the Census, and the UN to improve crime reporting. A long-time president of the International Society of Criminology, Sellin also edited the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science for 39 years. Penn's Sellin Center for Studies in Criminology and Criminal Law was named for him.
The groundbreaking study of penal slavery throughout the ages is finally available again. Previously a rare book, despite the fact that it is widely quoted and cited by scholars in the field of sociology, penology, and criminology, it can now be accessed easily worldwide and be assigned to classes. Now in its 40th anniversary edition, Sellin's classic book adds a new Foreword by Barry Krisberg.