Honoring UCCI Director and Justice Champion, Dr. Edward J. Latessa

January 14, 2022

We at The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center are saddened to learn of the passing Dr. Ed Latessa, director of the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute. His tireless efforts to develop, refine, and advocate for effective strategies to reduce recidivism informed much of our work.

Dr. Latessa was a giant in his field, who devoted his life and career to guide scores of justice professionals to a better understanding of how the justice system could be an effective vehicle for rehabilitation and second chances. He routinely traveled around the country, delivering engaging and compelling presentations about current research and best practices, advising state officials, advocates, and practitioners, and serving as a keynote speaker at numerous high-profile conferences.

“With his focus on how to help correctional programs be more effective, Dr. Latessa led the field forward through his vision, research, presentations, mentorship, humor, and friendship,” said Marshall Clement, CSG Justice Center Deputy Director.  “He was always focused on figuring out what worked, helping everyone understand why, and developing tools for the field to apply the research. His contributions have helped change countless lives and made our communities safer.”

Dr. Latessa worked closely with the CSG Justice Center’s Justice Reinvestment teams to help distill research for legislative audiences and to assist with program implementation. He presented at many of the CSG Justice Center’s national 50-state conferences focused on reducing adult and juvenile recidivism, reforming community supervision, and increasing public safety. But his legacy isn’t just about his work. He generously gave of his time to mentor justice professionals early in their careers, and he was always available for a call, email, or chat.

“I had the good fortune to work with Ed on three major projects over the past decade,” said David D’Amora, CSG Justice Center Senior Policy Advisor. “His contributions improved every one of them and his constant advice to us was to not make things too complicated. He knew we had to be able to make those not involved in the field understand the issues clearly if we want to achieve lasting change in criminal justice.”

Our thoughts are with Dr. Latessa’s family and friends. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him and had the privilege of working with him.

 

Photo credit: Steinsky

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