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Piquero tapped by Biden administration to head Bureau of Justice Statistics

Alex Piquero, a noted criminologist and chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology, has been named director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, part of the Department of Justice.
Alex Piquero
Alex Piquero has been named director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Amy L. Solomon, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs, announced Wednesday that President Joe Biden has appointed Alex Piquero, an expert in criminology at the University of Miami, as director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. 

Piquero, whose appointment takes effect August 15, is Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and holds the post of professor of criminology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. 

“Dr. Piquero is one of the world’s most prolific and distinguished criminologists, a model of scientific excellence whose work has expanded our base of knowledge in virtually every facet of criminal and juvenile justice,” said Solomon. “His vast experience as a researcher, his exemplary scholarly reputation, his appreciation of the link between data and policy, and his deep engagement with a wide range of stakeholders make him exceptionally qualified to guide the critical mission of our Bureau of Justice Statistics.” 

As head of the bureau, Piquero will lead the primary statistical agency of the Department of Justice. Housed within the Office of Justice Programs, the bureau collects, analyzes, publishes, and disseminates information on crime, crime victims, those who engage in criminal activity, and criminal justice operations. The bureau also provides financial and technical support to state, local, and tribal governments to improve their statistical capabilities and the quality and the utility of their criminal history records. 

“I am humbled to be selected to lead the Bureau of Justice Statistics,” said Piquero. “As the principal statistical agency of the Department of Justice, I look forward to working with the exceptional team within BJS to provide the president, Congress, researchers, and the public with accurate, timely, and objective data about crime and criminal justice issues in order to inform crime and justice policy.” 

Piquero is a nationally and internationally recognized criminologist with more than 25 years of experience. His expertise ranges from criminal justice policy and crime prevention to the intersection of race and crime, with a focus on quantitative methodology. Prior to joining the University of Miami, he was on the faculty of several criminology and criminal justice programs, including the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Maryland College Park, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. 

Piquero holds a Ph.D., a master’s degree, and a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland College Park.

He has published more than 500 scholarly articles and a number of books and served as editor of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology and the Justice Evaluation Journal. He is a Fellow of both the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. In 2019, he received the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Bruce Smith Sr. Award for outstanding contributions to criminal justice. And in 2020, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Division of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology of the American Society of Criminology.

During the course of his career, Piquero has served on several National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council panels, including Evaluating the National Institute of Justice and A Prioritized Plan to Implement a Developmental Approach in Juvenile Justice Reform, as well as most recently the Panel on Modernizing the Nation’s Crime Statistics. 

He has given congressional testimony on evidence-based crime prevention practices and has provided counsel and support to local, state, national, and international criminal justice agencies. In 2015, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appointed him to the Office of Justice Programs Science Advisory Board. More recently, in March 2021, he was elected to the Council on Criminal Justice. 

More information about the Office of Justice Programs and its components can be found at