President Jeremy Travis of John Jay College of Criminal Justice has announced that he will be leaving in August, after 12 years at the helm of the nation’s pre-eminent criminal justice education institution.
Travis said he will continue to work on criminal justice issues as a senior fellow at the Program in Criminal Justice at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and as a professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.
“As you can imagine, this was a very difficult decision,” Travis said in a note to the college community. “I simply love John Jay…but this is the right time for me to begin my next professional chapter.”
He added, “For those of us who are eager to see fundamental reform in the criminal justice system, this is a particularly challenging and exciting chapter in the nation’s history.
“The air crackles with urgent demands to reduce mass incarceration, reform policing, examine new roles for prosecutors and judges, bring data analytics to our understanding of the justice system…and pursue racial justice and social justice as we enforce our laws.”
Travis, 68, is the author of “But They All Come Back: Facing the challenges of Prisoner Reentry” (Urban Institute Press, 2005) and chaired the National Research Council Committee on the Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration, which produced a landmark report in 2014. He has served as director of the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice, and in his earlier career was Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters for the New York City Police Department and special counsel to the NYPD Commissioner.
Since his appointment as John Jay President in 2004, Travis has been credited with raising the college’s national and international profile, expanding student enrollment, and boosting John Jay to the seventh-ranking university in the country in research funding increases. The college was established in the 1950s, partly in response to demands from the New York Police Department for higher academic opportunities for its members.
The college today, one of the senior colleges of the City University of New York, has more than 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations.
In his announcement, Travis said he will collaborate with criminologist Bruce Western at Harvard to launch a three-year “executive session” next year to “explore new responses to crime that reflect a social justice framework.”
“We hope this initiative…will influence the next generation of thinking about criminal justice in our country,” he said.
Editor’s Note: John Jay College is a sponsoring partner of The Crime Report through the college’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice.