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. She has over 25 years research experience in the areas of public safety and public health with expertise in program evaluation. Davis currently is leading an evaluation of a three-state demonstration project called “Pathways from Prison to Post-Secondary Education.” She also is leading a three-year evaluation of Minnesota Department of Corrections’ Career Navigators Initiative to expand access to career and technical education for incarcerated students. Davis recently completed a national landscape scan of higher education in U.S. prisons for the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. Other research with respect to prisoner reentry includes an ongoing study to assess the capacity of county safety nets to meet newly released inmates’ health care needs and a multi-year study on the public health implications of prisoner reentry in California. Past research includes a National Institute of Justice study on the effect of prison closures and the fiscal challenges state correctional systems face; a national study funded under the Second Chance Act to evaluate the effectiveness of educational and vocational training programs for incarcerated adults. Davis is currently serving as a Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Fellow. Davis received her Ph.D. in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Recent Projects

  • Assessing the Effectiveness of Correctional Education
  • Impact of Prison Closings on Correctional Systems
  • Evaluation of SB 1041 Reforms to California's CalWORKS Program
  • Evaluation of North Carolina's Pathways from Prison to Post-Secondary Education demonstration project
  • Evaluation of Minnesota Department of Corrections Career Navigator Program

Selected Publications

Steele, J.L., Bozick, R., Davis, L.M., "Education for Incarcerated Juveniles: A Meta-Analysis," Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 21(2), 2016

Turner, Susan F., Davis, Lois M., Fain, Terry, Braithwaite, Helen, Lavery, Theresa, Choinski, Wayne, and Camp, George, "A National Picture of Prison Downsizing Strategies," Victims & Offenders, 2015

Davis, L.M., Karoly, L.A., Bozick, R., Lavery, D., Barnes-Proby, D., Weidmer, B.A., Iyiewuare, P., Schweig, J., Evaluation of the SB 1041 Reforms to California’s CalWORKs Program: Findings Regarding the Initial Policy Implementation and Impact., RAND (RR-1348), 2016

Lois M. Davis, Jennifer L. Steele, Robert Bozick, Malcolm Williams, Susan Turner, Jeremy N.V. Miles, Jessica Saunders, Paul S. Steinberg, How Effective Is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go from Here?RAND Corporation (RR-564), 2014

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, 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, Nancy Nicosia, Adrian Overton, Lisa Kraus, Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Terry Fain, Susan Turner, Paul S. Steinberg, Eugene Williams, Understanding the Public Health Implications of Prisoner Reentry in California: Phase I Report, RAND Corporation (TR-687-TCE), 2009

Honors & Awards

  • 2012 Gold Merit Award, RAND Corporation
  • 2015 Silver Merit Award, RAND Corporation
  • 2015 RAND Zwick Impact Award, California State Assembly

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Bloomberg BNA; CQ Homeland Security Digest; KCRW-FM; KFI Los Angelges; Minnesota Public Radio Network; PBS; Washington Post Radio; WNPR


  • An officer with Schertz Police Department holds a FedEx truck from entering the scene of a blast at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, U.S., March 20, 2018

    Austin Bombings Highlight a Potential Vulnerability in the Mail Delivery System

    USPS is better than private couriers at identifying and detecting suspicious packages. Given that they are increasingly handling "last mile" delivery, how can private mail delivery offices better detect and safely handle suspicious mail?

    Apr 17, 2018 Inside Sources

  • Inmates study during their class at the Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York, April 8, 2016

    The Pendulum Swings Back: Support for Postsecondary Education in Prison

    Correctional educational programs can reduce incarceration costs and recidivism. But it's critical that former inmates can connect with reentry services in the community to complete their education.

    Dec 15, 2016 The RAND Blog

  • A woman sits handcuffed after arriving at the Los Angeles Century Jail for Women in Lynwood, California, April 26, 2013

    Counties Need to Help Parolees Access Health Care

    Health needs can be big challenges for former prisoners seeking to reenter communities. But recent policies in California promise to reduce that barrier.

    Nov 23, 2016 San Francisco Chronicle

  • U.S. President Barack Obama tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015

    Obama Commutes Sentences of 46 Drug Offenders. Now for the Hard Part

    Last month, President Obama commuted more sentences in a single day than any president since Lyndon Johnson. But commutation doesn't erase a criminal conviction.

    Aug 10, 2015 The Tampa Tribune

  • 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

  • A doctor taking a male patient's blood pressure

    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