Lois M. Davis

Photo of Lois Davis
Senior Policy Researcher
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 (she/her) is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. She has over 30 years research experience in the areas of public safety and public health, with a focus on justice-involved populations. Her expertise includes qualitative and quantitative analysis, program evaluation, and working with agencies and organizations involved in service provision, policymaking, or the administration of programs. Davis currently is leading a multi-year evaluaiton of California's 1170.01 County Resentencing Pilot Program. She also is leading a study to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on prison education in the United States. Davis is coleading the development of the Census of Youth Law Enforcement Experience Programs for the COPS Office, U.S. Department of Justice. She coauthored the 2021 guidebook What Corrections Officials Need to Know to Partner with Colleges to Implement College Programs in Prisons. She recently completed evaluations of Minnesota Department of Corrections’ Career Navigators Program and North Carolina's Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education. Past research includes a national evaluation of the effectiveness of educational and vocational training programs for incarcerated adults and juveniles funded under the Second Chance Act; a multi-year evaluation of welfare reform in California; development of a long-term evaluation framework for the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care; and a study to assess the public health implications of prisoner reentry in California. Davis received her Ph.D. in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Recent Projects

  • Assessing the Effectiveness of Correctional Education
  • Evaluation of SB 1041 Reforms to California's CalWORKS Program
  • Evaluation of North Carolina's Pathways from Prison to Post-Secondary Education demonstration project
  • Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 on Correctional Education Programs for Incarcerated Adults
  • Evaluation of California's 1170.01 County Resentencing Pilot Program

Selected Publications

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

Robert Bozick, Jennifer Steele, Lois M. Davis, Susan Turner, "Does Providing Inmates with Education Improve Post-Release Outcomes? A Meta-Analysis of Correctional Education Programs in the United States," Journal of Experimental Criminology, 2018

Lois M. Davis, Lynn A. Karoly, Dionne Barnes-Proby, Beverly A. Weidmer, Praise Iyiewuare, Robert Bozick, Gabriele Fain, Sami Kitmitto, Cheryl Graczewski, Eric Larsen, Johannes M. Bos, Melissa Arellanes, Andrew Horinouchi, Jennifer Anthony, Marina Castro, Evaluation of the SB 1041 Reforms to California's CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work Program: Updated Findings Regarding Policy Implementation and Outcomes, RAND (RR-1894), 2020

Lois M. Davis, Higher Education Programs in Prison: What We Know Now and What We Should Focus On Going Forward, RAND (PE-342), 2019

Lois M. Davis and Michelle A. Tolbert, Evaluation of North Carolina’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Initiative, RAND Corporation (RR-2957-LGF), 2019

Lois M. Davis, John Linton, What Corrections Officials Need to Know to Partner with Colleges to Implement College Programs in Prisons, RAND (TL-A1253-1), 2021

Lois M. Davis, Michelle C. Tolbert, Susan Turner, Evaluation of the Minnesota Department of Correction's Career Navigators Program: Final Report, RAND (RR-A1132-1), 2022

Honors & Awards

  • 2015 Silver Merit Award, RAND Corporation
  • 2015 RAND Zwick Impact Award, RAND Corporation
  • 2019 RAND Alumni Impact Award, RAND Corporation

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Bloomberg BNA; CQ Homeland Security Digest; KCRW-FM; KFI Los Angelges; Marketplace; Minnesota Public Radio Network; PBS; Washington Post Radio; WNPR; All Things Considered, NPR


  • Nurse practitioner Lisa Flemmons and chief nursing officer Robin L. Steaban give a thumbs up after Flemmons received a COVID-19 vaccine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, December 17, 2020, photo by George Walker IV/USA Today via Reuters

    Who Can Effectively Champion the Vax?

    Vaccine hesitancy appears to be one more hurdle in ending the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC would typically lead a campaign to overcome it, but Americans' trust in the CDC has declined measurably. Health care professionals may be more effective messengers when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines.

    Apr 9, 2021 MedPage Today

  • United States Postal Service workers load mail into delivery trucks outside a post office in Royal Oak, Michigan, August 22, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    The USPS Is a Public Service, Not a Business

    As Congress and the White House debate how to assist the Postal Service, it will be important to understand the effects of proposed cost-cutting measures on mail delivery of vital services, smaller and rural communities, low-income communities, and the USPS's broader public safety and security functions.

    Apr 6, 2021 The National Interest

  • United States Postal Service employee Brandis Neal delivers mail in Houston, Texas, August 18, 2020, photo by Adrees Latif/Reuters

    The United States Postal Service Is More 'Essential' Than You Thought

    The U.S. Postal Service is an essential service that delivers mail to every address in the country, connects rural communities, and contributes to public safety. But it is still mistakenly thought of as a private business that should be able to turn a profit.

    Aug 25, 2020 The Hill

  • Man reading in prison cell, photo by Manuel-F-O/Getty Images

    North Carolina Program Helps Former Prisoners Make It on the Outside

    To avoid the all-too-common fate of ending up back in prison, incarcerated adults need skills and credentials they typically don't have. Helping them overcome the challenges of reentry is a net gain for them and for the communities to which they return.

    Jul 11, 2019 The News & Observer

  • 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

    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

  • A father hugging his son on graduation day, photo by digitalskillet/Getty Images

    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

  • A woman is checked into the Orange County jail in Santa Ana, California, May 24, 2011, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    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