President Barack Obama plans to nominate Karol Mason to serve as assistant attorney general for justice programs at the Department of Justice, which has been open since Laurie Robinson stepped down in February of 2012.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is the parent agency of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), which would make Mason the closest Senate-confirmed person to juvenile justice issues at the department.
Mason, a partner at the law firm Alston & Bird, worked on Obama’s 2008 campaign. She then joined the Justice Department as deputy associate attorney general in 2009, and returned to Alston in 2012.
Mary Lou Leary, Robinson’s former principal deputy, has been the acting head of OJP since March 1. Before joining the administration, Leary was the executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, a D.C.-based victim advocacy organization.
Mason, if confirmed by the Senate, will be the immediate superior of presumptive OJJDP Administrator Bob Listenbee. He is set to be the first OJJDP appointed without Senate approval after the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 stripped confirmation requirement from the job.
The Office of Justice Programs is comprised of:
- Bureau of Justice Assistance
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
- National Institute of Justice
- Office for Victims of Crime
- Office for Civil Rights
- Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART)
John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change