Jeremy Travis

Founder and Former Co-Director

Jeremy Travis is the Founder and former Co-Director of the Misdemeanor Justice Project.  He is currently the Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Jeremy joined the Foundation after serving for 13 years as president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York (CUNY). Under Jeremy’s leadership, John Jay became a senior liberal arts college at CUNY, significantly increased the number of baccalaureate students, created the CUNY Justice Academy to serve community college students, and joined the prestigious Macaulay Honors College.  During his tenure, John Jay also significantly expanded the number of faculty; tripled outside funding for research; and launched research centers on topics such violence, prisoner reentry, juvenile justice, policing, race, cybercrime, terrorism, and the role of prosecutors.  The college now offers more than a dozen masters programs, three doctoral programs, and a growing suite of online degrees. Under Jeremy’s leadership, the college completed its first capital campaign, for $50 million, and announced a second for $75 million.

Prior to his time at John Jay, Jeremy was a senior fellow with the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute. There, he launched a national research program focused on prisoner reentry into society and initiated research agendas on crime in a community context, sentencing, and international crime. Before that, Jeremy served as director of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), where he managed the growth of the organization’s annual budget from $25 million to $120 million. At NIJ, he established major initiatives to assess crime trends; evaluate federal anti-crime efforts; foster community policing and new law enforcement technologies; advance forensic sciences; and bolster research on counter-terrorism strategies.

Jeremy’s career also includes his role as deputy commissioner for legal matters for the New York City Police Department (NYPD); chief counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice; special advisor to New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch; and assistant director for law enforcement services for the Mayor’s Office of Operations.  In addition, he was special counsel to the police commissioner of the NYPD.

Jeremy clerked for then-U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg and was the Marden and Marshall Fellow in Criminal Law at New York University. He served as executive director of the New York City Criminal Justice Agency. In addition, he worked at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he managed demonstration programs on bail reform, judicial decision making, and victim-witness assistance.  Jeremy began his career in criminal justice as a legal services assistant for the Legal Aid Society.

One of the nation’s preeminent criminal justice reformers, Jeremy has taught courses on criminal justice, public policy, history, and law at numerous universities.  He is the author of But They All Come Back: Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry, and co-editor of both Prisoner Reentry and Crime in America and Prisoners Once Removed: The Impact of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families, and Communities.  He chaired the panel of the National Research Council that produced the landmark report, The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences, which he co-edited. He has written extensively about constitutional law, criminal law, and criminal justice policy.  Jeremy is a member of The Committee on Law and Justice for the National Research Council and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Urban Institute. He earned his J.D. and M.P.A. from New York University and his bachelor’s degree from Yale College.