Laurie O. Robinson joined George Mason University in 2012 as the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law and Society after more than three decades of involvement in national criminal justice policy. Reflecting that ongoing engagement, she was named by then-President Obama in 2014 to co-chair the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, charged with developing recommendations on ways to build greater trust between law enforcement and citizens in the wake of the Ferguson incident. In 2014-16, she served on the Congressionally created Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, charged with addressing crowding in the federal prison system, and she currently sits on the New York City Independent Commission on Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform (the “Rikers Commission”).
Robinson twice served as a Senate-confirmed, Presidentially-appointed Assistant Attorney General heading the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, DOJ’s research, statistics and criminal justice assistance agency. Her three years of service in the Obama Administration, coupled with seven years in the Clinton Administration, make her the longest serving head of that agency in its 50-year history. Robinson’s more recent tenure heading the $2.5 billion agency was marked by a focus on science: She set up a Science Advisory Board for OJP and created a national “what works” clearinghouse for the criminal justice field (www.crimesolutions.gov).
Between her stints in government, Robinson was the founding director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Science Program in Penn’s Department of Criminology and served as a Distinguished Senior Scholar in the Jerry Lee Center of 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 from $800 million in 1993 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.
Earlier in her career, Robinson spent 14 years as director of the American Bar Association’s Section of Criminal Justice in Washington. At the ABA she founded its Center on Juvenile Justice and spearheaded initiatives on sentencing, federal criminal code reform, and indigent defense.
Robinson has served on a number of national boards, including those of the Vera Institute of Justice, the Constitution Project, and the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA). She sits on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Law and Justice and co-chaired the Research Advisory Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police for many years. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Sheldon Krantz, a lawyer and law professor.