Lois M. Davis

Photo of Lois Davis
Senior Policy Researcher; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in public health, University of California, Los Angeles

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Lois M. Davis is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Davis's recent policy research has focused on the intersection of public safety and public health. She currently is leading a study on prison closings and other responses of state correctional systems to fiscal pressures. She also is leading a comprehensive assessment of correctional education in the United States for incarcerated adults and juveniles, and a multiyear study on the public health implications of prisoner reentry in California. She recently led a commissioned study to examine disparities faced by African-American and Latino boys and men in California across specific socioeconomic, health, safety, and school readiness indicators. Past research includes the near-term adjustments police forces made in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology in correctional facilities, and the health status of returning prisoners. Davis received her Ph.D. in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Recent Projects

  • Public health implications of prisoner reentry in California
  • Assessing the effectiveness of correctional education
  • Impact of Prisons Closings on Correctional Systems
  • Assessing disparities faced by boys and men of color in California
  • Evaluation of the Pathways from Prison to Post-Secondary Education demonstration project

Selected Publications

Lois M. Davis, Robert Bozick, Jennifer L. Steele, Jessica Saunders, Jeremy N.V. Miles, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education: A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults, RAND Corporation (RR-266), 2013

Lois M. Davis, Malcolm Williams, Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Paul Steinberg, Nancy Nicosia, Adrian Overton, Lisa Miyashiro, Susan Turner, Terry Fain, Eugene Williams, Understanding the Public Health Implications of Prisoner Reentry in California: State-of-the-State Report, RAND Corporation (MG-1165), 2011

Lois M. Davis, Michael Pollard, Kevin Ward, Jeremy M. Wilson, Danielle M. Varda, Lydia Hansell, Paul Steinberg, Long-Term Effects of Law Enforcement's Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, RAND Corporation (MG-1031), 2010

Lois M. Davis, M. Rebecca Kilburn, Dana Schultz, Reparable Harm: Assessing and Addressing Disparities Faced by Boys and Men of Color in California, RAND Corporation (MG-745-TCE), 2009

Lois M. Davis et al, "Understanding the Public Health Implications of Prisoner Reentry in California: Phase I Report," RAND Corporation, 2009

Honors & Awards

  • 2012 Gold Merit Award, RAND Corporation
  • 2009 Bronze Merit Award, RAND Corporation
  • Certificate of Recognition for contributions to AB 109/Re-entry Program, California State Assembly

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: CQ Homeland Security Digest; PBS; Washington Post Radio


  • Offenders read and write papers inside the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary library located in the Darrington Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison in Rosharon, Texas

    Using Education to Stop the Prison Revolving Door

    Providing education and vocational training to inmates is a cost-effective way to reduce recidivism rates, thus shrinking prison populations and easing the strain on prison budgets. Education is far less expensive than incarceration.

    Sep 30, 2014 | AL.com

  • An adult classroom

    The State of Washington and Its Focus on Rehabilitation

    California can learn a great deal from the state of Washington, which has implemented a series of reforms focused on rehabilitation--on diverting offenders to treatment and other options and making serving time in prison the last option.

    Sep 16, 2014 | Zocalo Public Square and TIME

  • Yes and no boxes on a clipboard

    If You Want Ex-Cons to Be 'Productive Members of Society,' Ban the Box

    When an inmate is released, you often hear Americans say that he's 'paid his debt' and can now become 'a productive member of society.' But the reality is ex-cons pay for their crimes long after sentences end. On the outside, the stigma of incarceration makes it extremely difficult to land a job.

    Sep 5, 2014 | The Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • a man holding a book on his lap

    Sending Prisoners to College Will Save You Money

    Correctional education works for states because it saves money and shrinks prison populations. It works for prisoners, the public, law enforcement, and the judicial system because educated prisoners are less likely to return to their criminal ways once released.

    Apr 11, 2014 | Newsday

  • U.S. President Barack Obama is introduced to speak by Christian Champagne from Chicago at the unveiling of Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative

    Realizing the Potential of 'My Brother's Keeper'

    The White House has mobilized an impressive coalition to address a critical national challenge, and used the power of research evidence to begin to structure the initiative. By drawing more lessons from research, the initiative can further bolster its chance to build strong and lasting ladders of opportunity and success for boys and young men of color.

    Mar 16, 2014 | The Hill

  • male patient wearing white shirt talking to psychiatrist

    Medicaid Access for the Formerly Incarcerated Under the ACA: Helping the Oft-Forgotten

    America's prison population tends to be sicker than the general population. While Medicaid eligibility under the ACA offers an historic opportunity, enrolling the formerly incarcerated into the health exchanges or Medicaid will be neither simple nor straightforward.

    Oct 3, 2013 | The RAND Blog

  • Inmates sit in a classroom at the Orange County jail

    To Stop Prisons' Revolving Door

    If California wants to reduce its prison population, it needs to address recidivism, and the best way to do this is through education and job training. Cutting education and vocational training may seem like a tempting way to plug short-term budget gaps, but it actually ends up costing the system more over time.

    Sep 16, 2013 | Los Angeles Times

  • A cloud of smoke envelopes the street after a bomb explodes at the Boston Marathon

    Boston Marathon Bombings Highlight Need to Measure Investment in Homeland Security

    In recent years, especially following the economic downturn, states, counties, and cities have looked for ways to reduce costs and maintain basic policing services, leading many to question what the investment in counterterrorism and homeland security has achieved for their jurisdiction.

    Apr 18, 2013 | The RAND Blog

  • Prisoner Reentry and Public Health: Is Your State Ready?

    Lois M. Davis, senior policy researcher, discusses the unique health needs of prisoners re-entering the general population and the role that health plays in their successful re-integration.

    Jul 3, 2012

  • Dropping Out, Imprisoned or Killed: Disparities in Outcomes Faced by Young African American Men

    Boys and men of color—in particular, young African American men—are particularly vulnerable to racial and ethnic disparities. That such disparities exist should surprise no one. Nor should the fact that such disparities diminish the life chances of those affected, writes Lois M. Davis.

    Aug 26, 2011 | Tavis Smiley on PBS

  • California's Prisoner Shuffle

    The state needs to deal with prison overcrowding and inadequate medical care for prisoners in ways that don't simply transfer the burden to county criminal justice systems and the healthcare safety nets of local communities, writes Lois Davis.

    Aug 19, 2011 | Los Angeles Times

  • Prison Health Care

    Prison Health Care, in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Jul 12, 2007 | San Diego Union-Tribune