Criminology, Law and Society

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Laurie Robinson

Laurie Robinson

Laurie Robinson

Clarence J. Robinson Professor

Crime and public policy, federal role in supporting translational criminology and criminal justice innovation, public management and strategic leadership in criminal justice

Laurie Robinson serves as the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law and Society.  She twice served as a Senate-confirmed, Presidentially-appointed Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, the research, statistics and criminal justice assistance arm of the Department. 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 45-year history. Robinson’s recent tenure heading the $2.5 billion agency was marked by a focus on science: She set up a Science Advisory Board, launched an initiative to better integrate evidence into OJP’s programs, and created 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 and served as a Distinguished Senior Scholar in Penn’s 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 in such areas as violence against women, drug treatment courts, and law enforcement technology.  She has frequently testified before Congress and serves on a number of national boards, including those of the Vera Institute of Justice and the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), a non-profit think tank.  Robinson also serves as co-chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)'s Research Advisory Committee.

Selected Publications

Robinson, L., "Bridging the Gap between Science and Criminal Justice Policy: The Federal Role," Translational Criminology (Spring 2013).

Robinson, L., "Federal Leaders: Larger Role on Reentry," Advancing Practice (April 2013). 

Robinson, L., Foreword to From Juvenile Delinquency to Adult Crime: Criminal Careers, Justice Policy and Prevention.  Loeber, Rolf, and Farrington, David, eds.  New York: Oxford University Press (2012).

Robinson, L., "Bringing Science to the Forefront of Criminal Justice Policy," The Criminologist," Vol. 37, No. 2 (March/April 2012). 

Robinson, L., "Exploring Certainty and Severity: Perspectives from a Federal Perch," Criminology and Public Policy, Vol. 10, Issue 1 (February 2011).

Robinson, L., “Restoring Federal Leadership on Crime Policy,” Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 20, No. 5 (June, 2008).

Robinson, L., “Commentary on McCoy -- Problem-Solving Courts,” American Criminal Law Review, Vol. 40., No. 4 (Fall, 2003).

Robinson, L., “Sex Offender Management: The Public Policy Challenges,” in Robert A. Prentky, Eric S. Janus, Michael C. Seto, (Eds.), Sexually Coercive Behavior: Understanding and Management, Ann. NY. Acad. Sci., Vol. 989 (2003). 

Travis, J., Robinson, L., Solomon, A., “Prisoner Reentry:  Issues for Practice and Policy,” Criminal Justice (Spring 2002).

Robinson, L., and Travis, J., “Managing Prisoner Reentry for Public Safety,” Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 12, No. 5 (March/April 2000).

Robinson, L., “Sex Offender Recidivism: A Challenge for the Court,” Court Review (Journal of the American Judges Association) (Spring, 1999).

Courses Taught

CRIM 425   Criminal Justice Management

CRIM 790   Capstone in Policy and Practice

HNRS 131   Problem-Solving in Government