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John Roman

Pronouns: He/Him

John is a nationally recognized expert on justice systems, firearms data and evaluating safety and justice programs.

John is a senior fellow in the Economics, Justice & Society department at NORC at the University of Chicago where he also directs the Center on Public Safety and Justice. His research focuses on the economics of innovative crime and justice policies and programs, cost-benefit methodology, public private partnerships and systems reforms, including justice system interactions with substance abuse, public health, adolescent development, housing, workforce development, and education. Dr. Roman has conducted research on behalf of numerous federal agencies, including the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, state and local governments, and private foundations. In that capacity, he served as the Visiting Science Director at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (2017 - 2018).

John has served as the principal investigator for more than three dozen projects funded by federal and local governments and national and local philanthropies. Over the last three years, he led a task force of leading subject matter experts convened to investigate the comprehensiveness of the US firearms data infrastructure, with particular attention to the overlap of public health and criminal justice data (Expert Panel on Firearms Data Infrastructure and Improving Data Infrastructure to Reduce Firearms Violence). He is currently the principal investigator for a study of the financial cost of criminal victimization, which will estimate the harms from victimization in nine domains that include outcomes from public health (mortality, morbidity, and trauma), criminal justice (recidivism and repeat victimization) and workforce (employment and disability).

Prior to joining NORC in 2016, John completed a study on behalf of the National Institute of Justice and the UK Home Office, which led to the publication of a book, Cost-Benefit Analysis and Crime Control. John served as the principal investigator for a large project funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to develop an architecture for pay-for-success contracts. He served as the principal investigator on the evaluations of drug courts in Brooklyn (NY), Anchorage (AK), and Birmingham (AL) and prisoner reentry programs in St. Louis (MO), Baltimore (MD), and Chattanooga (TN). Earlier in his career, he served as the research project manager for several large federally funded evaluations, including the National Institute of Justice funded Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE), the Serious, Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), the Washington, DC Superior Drug Intervention Program, and Break the Cycle.



University of Maryland


University of Michigan


Kenyon College

Appointments & Affiliations

Co-Chair & Vice President

National Prevention Science Coalition


Federal Data Infrastructure Working Group, Safe Streets and Arnold Ventures


Council on Criminal Justice, Crime Trends Working Group

Honors & Awards

President’s Award | 2022

NORC at the University of Chicago

Fellow | 2016

Academy of Experimental Criminology

Outstanding Field Trial | 2011

American Society of Criminology, Division of Experimental Criminology

President’s Award | 2009

Urban Institute

Excellence in Research | 2008

National Institute of Justice

Project Contributions

Expert Panel Recommendations to Improve Firearms Data Infrastructure

NORC addresses a deficit in the gathering of data on gun use and injuries


Arnold Ventures LLC

Developing a National Database on Police Use of Force

The nation’s first police database that combines police data across multiple cities


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Concordance Academy Evaluation

An experiment to test the effectiveness of a novel prisoner reentry program in St. Louis, Missouri


The Concordance Academy

Harms After a Victimization: Experience and Needs (HAVEN)

A comprehensive update to the costs and consequences of criminal victimization


National Institute of Justice