Founding Director & Professor
Howard Henderson is the Founding Director of the Center for Justice Research and professor of Justice Administration in the Barbara Jordan - Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution and fellow at University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Dr. Henderson serves as an advisory board member of the Vera Institute’s Rural Jail Research Policy Network, a member of the National Scientific Advisory Committee at the Institute of Justice Research and Development at Florida State University, and a member of the National Science Foundation's STEM Opportunities in Prison Settings workgroup.
Howard is an expert on culturally responsive criminal justice research, program evaluation and predictive bias. An equity-focused criminologist, Howard’s research takes a systems-based approach to understanding policy and program effects. Utilizing a translational research model, Howard’s research has demonstrated the inability of current policy and programming to remain race-neutral, in effect, negatively impacting historically disenfranchised communities. His research has provided approaches to reducing disparities in the criminal justice system and within its risk assessment instruments.
Recently, Dr. Henderson served as the chair of the data subcommittee for Houston’s Racial/Ethnic Disparities Committee Data Workgroup supported by the MacArthur Foundation. Howard was also critical to the National Science Foundation-funded project with the Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law that designed an iPAD assessment application that determined decision-making characteristics of the criminal justice involved through a range of cognitive traits. Dr. Henderson has also developed a multi-university research collaborative that provides mentoring opportunities for minority graduate students and junior university-level faculty. Howard previously served as the graduate program director in the School of Public Affairs and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Criminal Justice and Law Review.
Howard’s research on predictive bias and program evaluation has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Department of Justice, and most recently the collaborative efforts of the Center for Advancing Opportunity, Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Charles Koch Foundation. Dr. Henderson serves as an advisor to local, state and federal legislators and a host of criminal justice agencies along with reform-oriented organizations.
Dr. Henderson’s most recent research has appeared in Race & Justice, Journal of Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice & Behavior, Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, and the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics. His public scholarship has been published in the Huffington Post, Houston Chronicle, and the Texas Tribune. Awarded the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Minority Mentor of the Year in 2019, Howard has appeared on CNN, FOX, NBC, CNBC, ABC, Black News Channel, and the Laura Coates Show. His research has been cited by Politico, Vice, Aljazeera, Yahoo News, and The Crime Report.
Dr. Henderson received his B.S. in criminal justice administration from Middle Tennessee State University, masters of criminal justice from Tennessee State University, and PhD in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University in 2006.