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Debbie Dawes

Director, Court Systems Research Program


MPA, North Carolina State University
BA, International Studies, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill


Ms. Dawes has more than 25 years of experience conducting juvenile and criminal legal system policy analysis and program evaluations, particularly within the areas of pretrial, sentencing, probation, reentry, and system reform. Her evaluation experience includes substantive roles on two Arnold Ventures-funded projects: Research in Support of Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research and a randomized controlled trial of an early and continuous access to counsel model, and the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge. Ms. Dawes led quantitative and qualitative data collection for several NIJ-funded multisite evaluations under the Second Chance Act, the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), and the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) Demonstration Field Experiment. She also has been the project director for several state-funded studies including an implementation and impact evaluation of a jail diversion program serving veterans, a comprehensive evaluation of an innovative community-based youth reentry program, and a study of a statewide juvenile reentry system reform initiative.

Before joining RTI, Ms. Dawes was on the staff of the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission. As a research and policy associate, she facilitated the commission’s development of research-based criminal and juvenile justice policy recommendations to the state legislature and other decision-making bodies.

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