Penn Criminologist Laurie Robinson Testifies at U.S. House Appropriations Sub-Committee Hearing

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | jposey@pobox.upenn.edu | 215-898-6460March 22, 2007

PHILADELPHIA - Laurie Robinson, director of the criminology M.S. program in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, called on Congress to increase funding for state and local criminal justice programs.  She testified on March 21 before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.

Robinson, a former U.S. assistant attorney general, cited a recent Police Executive Research Forum report that found significant increases in robberies and homicides in many jurisdictions.

"State and local criminal justice right now is in a two-fold crisis, dealing with rising crime, on the one hand, and juggling additional responsibilities in the post-9/11 world, on the other," Robinson said.

Robinson proposed that the federal government fund a "What Works Clearinghouse" summarizing crime prevention research findings for practitioners and policymakers.  She pointed to the work being done by Lawrence Sherman, director of Penn's Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, and researchers at the Center as an example of work deserving federal support.  The Penn researchers, in concert with the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department, are trying to reduce homicides among probationers and parolees.

Robinson also stressed the importance of a federal role in gathering and disseminating national crime statistics, calling for increased funding for the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics to enable its National Crime Victimization Survey to measure crime down to the state level.

A copy of the full testimony is available by request from Jacquie Posey at jposey@pobox.upenn.edu.

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