David E. Olson, PhD

Title/s:  Professor
Co-Director, Center for Criminal Justice

Office #:  Mundelein Center, Room 811

Phone: 773.508.8594

Email: dolson1@luc.edu

CV Link: Olson_CV_2022

External Webpage: https://www.luc.edu/ccj/


David Olson is a Professor in the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department at Loyola University Chicago, where he is the Co-Director (with Don Stemen) of Loyola’s interdisciplinary Center for Criminal Justice Research. Previously Dr. Olson served as the Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, the Director of the Department’s Graduate Program, and as Director of Loyola’s interdisciplinary Forensic Science Program. Dr. Olson currently serves as the Chairperson for the advisory boards of the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, and as a member of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority’s Board through separate gubernatorial appointments. Dr. Olson also currently serves on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices Implementation Task Force, the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Firearm Violence Research Group, and the Illinois Pretrial Practices Data Oversight Board. 

For nearly 20 years, Dr. Olson worked at the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, where he was the director of Illinois’ Statewide Drug and Violent Crime Control Strategy Impact Evaluation Program and was responsible for overseeing the evaluation and monitoring of federally funded drug control efforts in the State of Illinois. For six years, Dr. Olson served as a Special Assistant to the Cook County Sheriff through a cooperative agreement between Loyola and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.  

David has served as staff to the Illinois Governor’s Task Force on Crime and Corrections (1992-1993), the Illinois Legislative Committee on Juvenile Justice (1994-1996), the Illinois Truth-in-Sentencing Commission (1996-1998), the Illinois Governor’s Community Safety and Prisoner Re-Entry Management Workgroup/Commission (2004-2006), and the Illinois Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee (2007-2010). In 2015 Dr. Olson was appointed as a Commissioner to the Illinois Governor’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. Dr. Olson has worked with a variety of federal, state and local agencies to develop and evaluate programs and policies, particularly in the area of community and institutional corrections, during his 35 years in the field of criminal justice. 

Dr. Olson has published more than 100 articles, research bulletins and research reports, and has made more than 100 presentations at professional conferences and training symposia. Some of David’s most recent research has been published in The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the Journal of Crime and Justice, and by the Duke University School of Law’s Center for Firearms Law. 

Dr. Olson received his B.S. in Criminal Justice from Loyola University Chicago, his M.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Political Science/Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was the recipient of the Assistant United States Attorney General’s Graduate Research Fellowship. In 2015 Dr. Olson received the John Howard Association Outstanding Research Contributions Award, and in 2011 he received the Hans W. Mattick Award for outstanding accomplishments in the field of criminology and criminal justice research from the Illinois Academy of Criminology.


PhD, Political Science/Public Policy Analysis, University of Illinois, Chicago, 1996

MA, Criminal Justice, University of Illinois, Chicago, 1991

MS, Criminal Justice, Loyola University Chicago, 1988