Laurie Robinson came to George Mason in 2012 and serves as the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law and Society. She has been involved in national criminal justice policy for more than three decades. Reflecting that ongoing engagement, she was named by President Obama in 2014 to co-chair the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, set up to develop recommendations on ways to build greater trust between law enforcement and citizens. She was also appointed in 2014 to a Congressionally created body, the Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, charged with examining crowding in the federal prison system, and was named in 2016 to an independent commission in New York City to explore how to close the city's jail complex on Riker's Island. More recently, she was named Chair of the Board of Directors of the Council on Criminal Justice, a new national bipartisan think tank and invitational membership organization created to advance understanding of criminal justice policy challenges facing the nation and build consensus for just solutions based on facts and evidence.
Robinson twice served as a Senate-confirmed, Presidentially-appointed Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, DOJ's research, statistics and criminal justice assistance arm. Her three years of service in the Obama Administration, coupled with seven years in the Clinton Administration, make her the longest serving head of the agency in its 50-year history. Robinson’s recent tenure was marked by a focus on science: She set up OJP's Science Advisory Board and launched Crime Solutions, a “what works" clearinghouse for the criminal justice field. Between her stints at DOJ, Robinson directed the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Science Program in Criminology.
During her first tenure at DOJ in the 1990s, she led the federal government’s engagement with states and localities on community-based crime control. Her agency’s annual budget grew to over $4 billion in 2000 and she oversaw the largest increase in federal spending on crime-related research in the nation’s history. She also spearheaded major federal initiatives on violence against women, drug treatment courts, and law enforcement technology. She has served on numerous national boards, including those of the Vera Institute of Justice and the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA). Robinson also served for six years as co-chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Research Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academies of Sciences.