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Monday, January 3, 2000202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, DC - The Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, Laurie Robinson, announced today that she would be leaving her position by the end of February. Ms. Robinson was confirmed by the Senate in September 1994, making her the longest-serving Assistant Attorney General in OJP's 30-year history.

During her tenure, Ms. Robinson has overseen OJP's expansion from an $800 million, 300 staff agency, to an organization that now administers over $4 billion in grants annually with a staff of around 900. OJP, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, focuses on improving state and local criminal and juvenile justice systems. It is responsible for administering grant programs, providing training and technical assistance, and conducting research and collecting statistics relating to criminal and juvenile justice.

"I've had the chance to do a great deal of what I set out to accomplish - with the wonderful backing of Attorney General Janet Reno, with the creative partnerships we've had with state and local leaders, and most important, with the work and enormous dedication of the men and women of OJP," said Assistant Attorney General Robinson. "I'm proud of the fact that OJP has grown so tremendously during my tenure, not just in budget and staff, but, most tellingly, in stature and the impact our work is having in communities across this country."

Much of OJP's growth is attributable to the programs created by the 1994 Crime Act, such as Violence Against Women, Drug Courts, and Corrections.

In addition to managing the development and administration of these major Crime Act programs, Ms. Robinson has also been responsible for overseeing the expansion of the Weed and Seed Program, an interdisciplinary public safety and community rebuilding initiative, now in over 200 sites across the country. Also, in FY 1999, OJP was given additional responsibilities for the state and local component of the domestic preparedness/first-responders initiative.

"I am proud that I was able to help begin the dialogue on many of the difficult issues confronting criminal justice practitioners, including alcohol and its relationship to crime, managing sex offenders upon their release to the community, and examining the relationship of mental health and crime, among other issues," added Robinson. "While these areas have in the past too-often been ignored, I am pleased that we now have a forward-thinking agenda."

Notable among Ms. Robinson's accomplishments has been her leadership in reshaping the Office of Justice Programs. In response to Congressional concern about OJP's extraordinary growth, coupled with an unusual organizational structure with six Presidential appointees, Ms. Robinson was tasked with re-evaluating how OJP could better deliver services to state and local criminal and juvenile justice policy-makers and practitioners. Over the course of the past several years, while continuing to manage OJP's growth and new programs, Ms. Robinson has charted the course for the OJP reorganization, which the Justice Department will begin implementing this fall.

With the Attorney General's support, Ms. Robinson brought OJP into the heart of the Justice Department, working in some fashion with almost every component and the federal enforcement agencies. In particular, she built the linkage between OJP and the United States Attorneys from a virtually non-existent relationship to one of regular collaboration.

Ms. Robinson has also reshaped the way OJP does business with its state and local constituents, from establishing a Customer Service Center and a new payment-by-phone system for grantees, to conducting focus groups and other outreach efforts to have the field focus OJP's programs and operations. Under her leadership, OJP is moving to an electronic, "paperless" grants administration, and is using its Web site not only to convey substantial amounts of information, but also for grants administration.

Also, Ms. Robinson improved OJP as a workplace, establishing a strong relationship with the union, creating an OJP employee advisory committee, increasing training and development efforts, and accomplishing a move to a modern headquarters.

Ms. Robinson has spent her professional career as a leader in criminal justice issues. Immediately prior to coming to OJP, Ms. Robinson was the Director of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association. Ms. Robinson stated that she has no immediate plans other than to travel and write.

More information about the Office of Justice Programs is available at



For Information contact: Harri j. Kramer at 202/514-6094 or 800/980-7492 after hours.