Who We Are

UNICRI Director

Dr. Cindy J. Smith

Dr. Smith brings a wealth of experience in the field of criminology and justice issues, policy making, strategic planning and education. She has the unique combination of extensive experience in conducting action oriented research, and developing and implementing programs and policies.

Career Highlights

At the time of her appointment, Dr. Smith was the Senior Coordinator for International Programs in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the United States Department of State (2012-2015).

Prior to this, Dr. Smith served as a Lead Foreign Affairs Officer in the Office of the Criminal Justice Assistance Programs in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and as the Assistant Director of Corrections for the Civilian Response Corps - Active Component at the U.S. Department of State (2011-2012). In this position, she conducted country assessments in the criminal justice sectors in corrections and juvenile justice, and developed monitoring and evaluation tools to ensure results driven programming could be developed based on solid program evaluation.

Dr. Smith’s teaching includes 15 years at the University level (e.g., strategic planning, program development, corrections and juvenile justice, statistics and research methods). In particular, from 1996 to 2010, Dr. Smith was an Assistant and then an Associate Professor in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Baltimore and the University of Illinois at Springfield. From 2000-2005, she served as the Director of the Masters in the Criminal Justice Program in Baltimore.

She had an active research agenda for more than 10 years, covering a broad array of research in policing, courts and corrections, including adult and juvenile drug treatment, prison industries, human trafficking, terrorism, juvenile sex offenders, gender issues in courts and corrections. Dr. Smith conducted many program evaluations, she taught strategic planning and program development at the Masters level and consulted with State government to develop strategic plans.

From 2006-2008, Dr. Smith served as the Chief of the International Center of the National Institute of Justice in the US Department of Justice, directing all international research, covering topics such as human trafficking and terrorism. She was the Department’s representative to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network (PNI) of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

In this same period, she served as research consultant to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for the country assessment of human trafficking in Lebanon. Ms. Smith served as an expert in the development of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules).

From 2005-2006, Ms. Smith was a Fulbright Senior Researcher in Turkey, conducting research on human trafficking and later on terrorism. In Turkey, she also conducted training at the National Police Academy on special populations.

In the early 1990’s, Ms. Smith was involved for 5 years in a juvenile detention and commitment facility. She was part of the team that developed and implemented a therapeutic community for the “Breakthrough” juvenile drug treatment program and liaised between the education system and probation in the juvenile facility.


Ms. Smith holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Social Ecology from the University of California Irvine, a Master of Science in Education Administration from the National University, Irvine and a Master of Science in Justice from the American University in Washington, D.C.

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