Laurel O. Robinson

Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (since November 2009)

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Why She Matters

Robinson once headed Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) for seven years. It's the longest tenure of any assistant secretary at the OJP. She must have enjoyed it because she's back, nine years after she originally stepped down.

Without a law degree, Robinson has worked in the criminology division of the American Bar Association (ABA) or at the Justice Department for 28 years. She's back at the DOJ, serving in the same position that she held during the Clinton administration.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Deputy Assistant AG for the Office of Justice Programs (Sept. 2009 to Nov. 2009); Principal Deputy Assistant AG for the OJP (Jan. 2009 to Sept. 2009); Director of Criminology Dept. Master of Science at the University of Pennsylvania (Jan. 2001 to Jan. 2009)
  • Birthday: 1946
  • Hometown: Washington, D.C.
  • Alma Mater: Brown University, B.A, 1968
  • Spouse: Sheldon Krantz
  • DC Office: Office of Justice Programs, 810 - Seventh St., N.W.
  • Web site

Path to Power

Born in 1946, Robinson spent many hours discussing politics at the family's dinner table while growing up in Washington, D.C. Her father worked as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, so family meals often turned into in-depth arguments over appropriation bills and other political topics.

For college, Robinson attended Brown University. After graduating in 1968, Robinson became a journalist. Robinson spent three years reporting and editing for the now-defunct Community News Service.

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The Issues

Robinson decides which crime-prevention programs across the country will receive federal grants. The OJP collects national data, evaluates trends and studies potential crime-fighting tools for crimes that are often outside the regular scope of other law enforcement. This includes working closely with local law enforcement branches as it distributes funds through DOJ grants.

In February 2008, Congress passed a massive stimulus package. In the $787 billion bill, $4 billion was set aside for the DOJ. Half of that money will go to the OJP, which will use the $2 billion to provide around 12,000 additional grants to local law enforcement branches.


The Network

Robinson works in the DOJ, reporting to AG Eric Holder and Associate AG Thomas J. Perrelli.


Campaign Contributions

Robinson has donated over $8,000 since 1992. All of Robinson's money has supported Democratic candidates or political action committees.


Additional Resources

  1. About the Office of Justice Programs accessed on Nov. 17, 2009
  2. "Penn's Laurie O. Robinson Is Named Acting Assistant Attorney General for Office of Justice Programs," Targeted News Service, Jan. 28, 2009
  3. Laurel O. Robinson's response to the Senate Judiciary Committee Questionnaire, Sept. 8, 2009
  4. "Penn's Laurie O. Robinson Is Named Acting Assistant Attorney General for Office of Justice Programs," Targeted News Service, Jan. 28, 2009
  5. Davis, Heather A., "Q&A/The Director of Penn's Master of Science Program in Criminology talks about working with former Attorney General Janet Reno and what drew her to criminology in the first place," The Penn Current, April 27, 2006
  6. Center for Responsive Politics
  7. Castelli, Elise and Carlstrom, Gregg, "Reports on stimulus spending must begin next week," Federal Times, Feb. 24, 2009