Gary LaFree is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Founding Director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Indiana University in 1979.
LaFree served as the Chair of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department from 2019-2021. He received the Sutherland Award from the American Society of Criminology (ASC) in 2020. During 2005-2006, LaFree served as President of the ASC. LaFree was named a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology in 2006 and a member of the National Academy of Science's Committee on Law and Justice in 2008. He has also served as the Past President of the ASC’s Division on International Criminology (1991-1993), the chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Crime, Law and Deviance (1991-1993), the Executive Board of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation (2001-2006), and the Executive Committee of the Justice Research Statistics Association (2000-2001, 1993-1994).
While at the University of Maryland, LaFree has been a founding member of the Democracy Collaborative and an invited member of the National Consortium of Violence Research. Before joining the faculty at Maryland, LaFree served as the Chair of the Sociology and Criminology Department at the University of New Mexico for six years and as the Director of the New Mexico Criminal Justice Statistics Analysis Center for 13 years. LaFree was appointed by the Governor of New Mexico to chair the State Crime and Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council—a position that he filled for four years.
LaFree received the G. Paul Sylvestre Award for outstanding achievements in advancing criminal justice statistics in 1994, and the Phillip Hoke Award for excellence in applied research in 1994 and 1998, from the Justice Research Statistics Association. LaFree has written more than 60 articles and book chapters and three books and is currently on the editorial boards of seven journals.