Jeremy Travis is the Founder and Co-Principal Investigator of the Misdemeanor Justice Project. In 2004, he was appointed the fourth President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Under his leadership, John Jay has been transformed. John Jay is now a senior college offering a rigorous undergraduate liberal arts program and, in 2012, joined the prestigious Macaulay Honors College of CUNY. Under President Travis’ leadership, freshman enrollment has increased by half, full time faculty have increased by a third and external funding for faculty research has tripled. John Jay offers 11 masters programs and houses two nationally recognized doctoral programs. The College launched John Jay Online in 2014 and completed its first capital campaign for $50 million that year. Prior to his appointment, President Travis served four years as a Senior Fellow affiliated with the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where he created a national research program on prisoner reentry.
From 1994-2000, Travis directed the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. Nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate, Travis established major research initiatives to assess crime trends, evaluate federal anti-crime efforts, advance forensic science, and bolster research on counter-terrorism strategies.
Prior to his service in Washington, Travis was Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters for the New York City Police Department (1990-94); Chief Counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, (1990); Special Advisor to New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch (1986-89); and Special Counsel to the New York City Police Commissioner (1984-86).
Before joining city government, Travis served as law clerk to then-U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1982-83) and was the Marden and Marshall Fellow in Criminal Law at New York University School of Law (1983-84). Travis served six years at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he managed demonstration programs on bail reform and victim-witness assistance, and directed the New York City Criminal Justice Agency (1977-79). He began his career working as a legal services assistant for the Legal Aid Society.
Currently, Travis serves as Chair of the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies. He also served as Chair of the NRC Committee on the Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration which produced a landmark report recommending significant reductions in the nation’s prison population. He is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Urban Institute. In 2009, President Travis served as Chair of the Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice, appointed by New York State Governor David A. Paterson, which recommended significant changes to the state’s juvenile justice system.
Travis has taught courses on criminal justice, public policy, history and law at Yale College, New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York Law School, George Washington University, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Most recently he co-edited (with Bruce Western and Steve Redburn) the NRC report The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences (The National Academies Press, 2014). He is the author of But They All Come Back: Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry (Urban Institute Press, 2005), co-editor (with Christy Visher) of Prisoner Reentry and Crime in America (Cambridge University Press, 2005), and co-editor (with Michelle Waul) of Prisoners Once Removed: The Impact of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families, and Communities (Urban Institute Press, 2003). He has published numerous book chapters, articles and monographs on constitutional law, criminal law and criminal justice policy. Mr. Travis has received numerous awards, including the Ellis Island Medal, the American Society of Criminology’s August Vollmer Award, the Gerhard O.W. Muller Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Margaret Mead Award from the International Community Corrections Association. He earned a JD, cum laude, from the New York University School of Law, an MPA from the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a BA, cum laude, in American Studies from Yale College.