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Washington, D.C. (June 11, 2024) – Arnold Ventures has appointed Dr. Ashna Arora vice president of criminal justice research, a further demonstration of the philanthropy’s commitment to conduct rigorous research to find the root causes of some of America’s most challenging problems, and to find solutions to address them. Effective immediately, Arora will focus on the use of high-quality, causal research in determining which policy and practice solutions are most likely to deliver positive and long-lasting impact in criminal justice reform. 

The stakes are incredibly high with criminal justice matters because it involves fundamental aspects of our lives, such as public safety and freedom,” said Dr. Jennifer Doleac, executive vice president of criminal justice at Arnold Ventures. Ashna shares Arnold Ventures’ view that the most promising path to positive reform is built on results from reliable research, rather than intuition or assumptions.” 

For the past six years, Arora has been gathering such results at the University of Chicago Crime Lab (UCCL), where she served as the facility’s research director. The UCCL is focused on the design, testing, and scaling of data-driven innovations to improve the public sector’s response to both violent crime and inequities found within the criminal justice system. 

The call for a better criminal justice system is both loud and justified,” said Arora. And if we truly want to advance community safety, while simultaneously promoting the values of fairness and effectiveness, we must rely on a data-driven strategy.” 

Arora will play a key role in defining and implementing Arnold Ventures’ strategic plan for philanthropic investment in criminal justice, as well as elevating the importance and role of evidence and evaluation. Arora’s work has been published in prestigious journals including American Economic Journal: Economic Policy and The Review of Economics and Statistics. 

Arnold Ventures is a philanthropy dedicated to tackling some of the most pressing problems in the United States with a team of more than 130 subject-matter experts headquartered in Houston with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. It works in six key issue areas: Criminal Justice, Education, Evidence & Evaluation, Health, Infrastructure, and Public Finance. 


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