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Laurie Robinson

Senior Fellow

Laurie Robinson is the Clarence J. Robinson Professor Emerita of Criminology, Law & Society at George Mason University. She joined GMU’s faculty in 2012 after more than three decades of involvement in national criminal justice policy. Reflecting her 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 a New York City independent commission to explore how to close the city's Riker’s Island jail complex. More recently, she was named Chair of the Board of Directors of the Council on Criminal Justice, a new national bipartisan think tank created to advance understanding of criminal justice policy challenges facing the nation and build consensus 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 (OJP), 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 was the founding director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Criminology Master of Science Program.

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 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 National Policing Institute, the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), the Vera Institute of Justice, and the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academies of Sciences (NAS). And for six years she served as co-chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Research Advisory Committee.