Robinson Stepping Down as Head of DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs
By David Stout | January 4, 2022 11:33 am

Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, who has headed the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs longer than anyone else, announced on Tuesday that she will step down at the end of February.

Robinson at her installation ceremony in December 2009 (photo by Main Justice).

Laurie Robinson has helped transform OJP’s role in the criminal and juvenile justice field, bringing scientific rigor, a true sense of partnership, transparency, and accountability to the agency,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. Created 44 years ago, the OJP assists federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in devising and putting into effect crime-fighting strategies.

Robinson was confirmed by the Senate in November 2009.  Since she served as head of OJP for nearly seven years in the 1990’s, she has led the agency longer than anyone else. After her first stint at OJP, Robinson was director of the Master of Science program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Criminology.

“One of the reasons I can think about leaving now is that we have made substantial progress towards goals I set in 2009,” Robinson said. “With the attorney general’s support, we have made real progress in building strong partnerships with law enforcement and other parts of the state, local and tribal criminal and juvenile justice field. We have put science front and center and focused on evidence-based approaches. And we’ve made it a priority to ensure OJP’s grant process is fair, accessible to our stakeholders, and accountable to Congress and the public in terms of managing scarce federal dollars.”

Justice Department grant programs — which include some programs that congressional pork-barrel spending critic Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have called frivolous - received big funding boosts in 2009 at the start of the Barack Obama administration but are now being squeezed in the larger federal budget crunch.

The DOJ said Robinson had “spearheaded new initiatives in a number of important areas, emphasizing innovative partnerships with the agency’s federal, state, local and tribal stakeholders.”

The OJP under Robinson also found a home in 2009 for Melodee Hanes, the then-live-in girlfriend of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), after Baucus had recommended her as one of several candidates for U.S. Attorney in Montana. Administration officials had worked to steer her into a job without a conflict of interest.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary will serve as acting Assistant Attorney General following Robinson’s departure, the DOJ said.


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