Gary LaFree is Distinguished University Professor of the Criminology and Criminal Justice department, and formerly the 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. During 2005-2006, Dr. LaFree served as President of the American Society of Criminology (ASC). Dr. LaFree received the Sutherland Award from the ASC in 2020, was appointed to the executive committee of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Law and Justice in 2008 and was named a Criminology Fellow by the ASC in 2006.  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, Dr. 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, Dr. 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. Dr. 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.

Dr. 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 100 articles and book chapters and six books and has served on the editorial boards of seven journals.

Areas of Interest

  • Causes and Consequences of Illegal Violence


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Indiana University, 1973, Magna Cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa; with special honors in History
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Indiana University, 1975
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Indiana University, 1979
Course Name Course Title Semester Syllabus
CCJS418N Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice; Causes and Consequences of Terrorism Spring 2024 Syllabus
CCJS498C Selected Topics in Criminology and Criminal Justice; Police and Campus Interaction Spring 2020

Current Students

Former Students

Related Students (Listed by Student on Student's Profile)

  • Bo Jiang
  • Yesenia Yanez
Dr. Gary LaFree
2131 LeFrak Hall
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
glafree [at]