School of Criminal Justice Director Named Among the Most Influential Leaders in the Field

Edward Latessa recognized as a visionary by criminal justice professionals nationwide

Edward Latessa Headshot

Edward Latessa, director of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati, has recently been named “one of the most innovative people in criminal justice” by seasoned criminal justice leaders and professionals in the United States. Latessa earned this recognition from a recently completed national, multi-faceted survey about innovation and criminal justice reform conducted by the Center for Court Innovation in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We are extremely proud and fortunate to call Ed among our most distinguished faculty members, and we are thrilled to see him earn this well-deserved national recognition,” said Lawrence Johnson, dean of the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. “Our school, the field of criminal justice, and the community at large have all been positively impacted because of Ed’s research and his unwavering commitment to the field.” 

Titled “Innovation in the Criminal Justice System: A National Survey of Criminal Justice Leaders,” the survey was administered among a nationwide sample of 1,002 professionals: 300 community corrections officials; 300 leaders from prosecutors’ offices; 300 police chiefs and sheriffs; and all 102 chief judges and chief court administrators from the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. More than 600 professionals participated and provided information that captures a snapshot of the current state of innovation in the field of criminal justice. One of the key themes to emerge from this work has been the critical role that leadership plays in encouraging a culture of innovation within criminal justice agencies, according to survey findings. 

In the “Specific Innovative Leaders” category, Latessa is the only researcher and professor of higher education who was named among the top innovative professionals in criminal justice. Latessa’s study of criminal and juvenile justice and corrections has garnered distinction for findings that intensive offender interventions are particularly suitable for high-risk offenders and can have counter-productive effects with low-risk offenders.

“I have spent more than 30 years working to improve the criminal justice system, and it is an honor to be recognized,” Latessa said. “Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work alongside some of the best and brightest in the field, and I am thankful for all the opportunities I have been given. The School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati is internationally recognized for promoting evidence-based practice, and I am pleased to play a role in disseminating the work that we do.”

The other professional who was mentioned the most by survey participants alongside Latessa is William Bratton, who served as chief of police of Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. In addition to naming the most innovative leaders in criminal justice, survey participants were asked to rank their agencies’ overall innovativeness, reactiveness in responding to failure, specific innovative programs, use of data and research, common barriers, and major sources of information, among other areas.

The survey also asked respondents what new idea or program in which they are most excited. Among the top answers: problem-solving courts (e.g., mental health courts, drug courts); evidence-based programs; technology; community engagement; and intelligence-based policing.

As the field of criminal justice continues to evolve, visionaries and innovators like Latessa will pave the way for a greater understanding of the opportunities and challenges that actively shape the field and our communities. Latessa offers a clear and compelling vision for what works in correctional programs, drug courts, correctional intervention, and juvenile justice programs, among other areas. He has provided hundreds of workshops and keynote addresses, perpetually examining and developing new strategies and evidence-based practices that help criminal justice professionals better understand and more effectively fight crime.