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President Jeremy Travis to serve as Chair of National Academies panel on the Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration

April 2012, NY, New York – President Jeremy Travis has been named as chair of a panel convened by the National Academies studying the causes and consequences of the country's high incarceration rates. This panel is an initiative of The Committee on Law and Justice. In addition to Jeremy Travis, the Committee is composed of 18 experts from wide-ranging backgrounds and fields (see below).

The panel will conduct a study exploring the causes of the dramatic increases in incarceration rates since the 1970s, the costs and benefits of the nation's current sentencing and incarceration policies, and whether there is evidence that alternative criminal justice policies might achieve similar public safety benefits at lower financial and social costs.

"I consider it a distinct honor to have been asked to chair this important panel. Our work will shed light on one of the most profound realities in America, our high rates of incarceration, and will bring a scientific perspective to the policy discussions about the role of imprisonment in our country," President Travis stated.

Panelists and staff convened for the first time on March 19 & 20 in Washington DC with additional workshops and meetings scheduled throughout the approximately 1 ½ year lifetime of the panel. The project is sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. A report will be issued at the end of the project in approximately 18 months.

The Committee on Law and Justice has been a standing committee of the National Research Council since 1975. It was formed to increase scientific understanding of crime and justice issues and to provide assistance in this regard to the National Institute of Justice . The members of the committee represent a breadth and depth of expertise necessary for studying such issues as violence, international and transnational crime, juvenile crime, white collar crime, law enforcement, prosecution, corrections and sentencing, illegal drugs and the operation of illegal markets, and deterrence.

Through its regular activities, including meetings, workshops and publications, the committee develops frameworks for identifying new areas of criminal justice research; assists in resolving scientific controversies; extends the research agenda in established areas; promotes theory development; and assists with planning for new research areas and large projects.

The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are independent, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under an 1863 Congressional charter. Committee members, who serve pro bono as volunteers, are chosen by the Academies for each study based on their expertise and experience and must satisfy the Academies' conflict-of-interest standards. The resulting consensus reports undergo external peer review before completion. For more information, visit

Established in 1964, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York is an international leader in educating for justice. It offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit


Jeremy Travis, Chair
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
The City University of New York

Jeffrey A. Beard
Professor of Practice
Justice Research Center
Pennsylvania State University

Robert D. Crutchfield
Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology
University of Washington

Tony Fabelo
Division Director, Research
Council of State Governments Justice Center

Marie Gottschalk
Department of Political Science
University of Pennsylvania

Craig Haney
Professor of Psychology
Director, Graduate Program in Social
Psychology and Director, Program in
Legal Studies
University of California-Santa Cruz

Glenn C. Loury
Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and
Professor of Economics and of Public Policy
Department of Economics
Brown University

Sara S. McLanahan
William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs
Princeton University

Lawrence M. Mead
Professor of Politics and Public Policy
New York University

Khalil Gibran Mohammad
Schomburg Center, NYC

Daniel S. Nagin
Teresa and H. John Heinz III University
Professor of Public Policy and Statistics
Carnegie Mellon University

Devah Pager
Associate Professor of Sociology and
Co-Director of the Joint Degree Program in Social Policy
Princeton University

Anne Morrison Piehl
Associate Professor
Department of Economics & Program in Criminal Justice
Rutgers University

Robert J. Sampson
Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences
Harvard University

Heather Ann Thompson
Associate Professor of History
Temple University

Michael Tonry
Professor of Law
University of Minnesota

Avelardo Valdez
School of Social Work
University of Southern California

Bruce Western
Professor of Sociology and
Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Harvard University