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John Roman

John Roman

Senior Fellow

Crime in America has steadily declined for the past two decades, but still remains appallingly high compared to other developed nations. Unfortunately, crime policy is not evidenced-based—rather it is driven by ad hoc reactions to tragic events—and moves only toward ever more serious penalties. However, we now have a large knowledge base of effective anti-crime policies and programs that are cost-effective alternatives to prison; we lack only the political will to implement them.

John Roman is a senior fellow in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where he focuses on evaluations of innovative crime-control policies and justice programs. He is also the executive director of the District of Columbia Crime Policy Institute, where he directs research on crime and justice matters on behalf of the Executive Office of the Mayor. Roman is directing several studies funded by the National Institute of Justice, including two randomized trials of the use of DNA in motor vehicle thefts and burglary investigations, an evaluation of post-conviction DNA evidence testing to estimate rates of wrongful conviction, and a study on why forensic evidence is rarely used by law enforcement to identify unknown offenders. He manages the national evaluation of adult drug courts, directs a study on the social benefit of informal social controls of postal carriers, and is working to develop the first social-impact bonds in the United States. He also serves as a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and an affiliated professor at Georgetown University.

Areas of expertise

Cost-benefit analysis, program evaluation, law and economics, criminal justice, juvenile justice.

Selected Publications from John Roman

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis and Crime Control
  • Drug Courts and Pre-Trial Diversion Testimony before the U.S. House Domestic Policy Subcommittee
  • The DNA Field Experiment Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the Use of DNA in the Investigation of High-Volume Crimes
  • Juvenile Drug Courts and Teen Substance Abuse
  • Publications by topic:
    Crime and Justice
    Courts and Policing
    Substance Abuse

    See all publications by John Roman

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