Dr. Steven Schlesinger, Former BJS Director and Longtime SEARCH Friend, Dies

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Then-BJS Director Dr. Steven Schlesinger (right) consults with then-U.S. Representative Ralph Regula (R-OH) at a BJS/SEARCH "National Conference on Juvenile and Adult Records: One System, One Record?" in June 1988 in Boston. Congressman Regula was the keynote speaker.
The Membership and Staff of SEARCH extends its sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Dr. Steven R. Schlesinger, who died Wednesday, April 25, in Washington, D.C. He was 68.

From 1983-88, Dr. Schlesinger served as Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a position he was appointed to by President Reagan.

In this role, he worked closely and collaboratively with SEARCH on a wide range of initiatives. These included improvements in the data quality of criminal history records, which was the subject of a BJS/SEARCH national conference in 1986, and examining issues surrounding the inclusion of juvenile offenses in adult criminal history records, the subject of a BJS/SEARCH conference in 1988.

Dr. Schlesinger was a long-time supporter of SEARCH and in 1986 the SEARCH Board of Directors selected him for our top practitioner honor—the O.J. Hawkins Award for Innovative Leadership and Outstanding Contributions in Criminal Justice Information Systems, Policy and Statistics. The award acknowledges an individual's service, dedication, and contributions that have improved the justice community's ability to develop and use criminal justice information.

SEARCH General Counsel Robert R. Belair worked closely with Dr. Schlesinger during his tenure at BJS.

Mr. Belair said, "SEARCH has lost a very special friend. Steve believed that complete and accurate criminal history record information is essential in order for the nation to make smart and effective criminal justice decisions. Steve believed that a robust state and federal partnership is necessary to accomplish this goal. Indeed, Steve inspired SEARCH's early work on what became the [National Crime Prevention and Privacy] Compact Council. And, Steve believed in SEARCH—its mission and its people."

After leaving BJS, Dr. Schlesinger served as Director of the DOJ's Office of Policy Development and Deputy Director of the Office of Policy and Communications from 1991-93. For the past 13 years, he has served as Chief of the Statistics Division at the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO). He also was a professor of political science at Rutgers and Catholic Universities, and authored books and more than 25 articles on legal topics.

Among his other professional awards were the U.S. Attorney General's Award for Excellence in Management, and the AO's Meritorious Service Award. He is a graduate of Cornell University, having earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees, and earned a Ph.D. in political science from the Claremont Graduate School in California. He is survived by his wife, Lesley Solomon, two sons, and a grandson. His first wife, Madeline, preceded him in death.

Dr. Schlesinger's funeral is scheduled at Tifereth Israel Congregation, at 7701 16th St, NW, Washington, DC on Friday, April 27, 2011, at 10 a.m. His family will be receiving friends following burial and Saturday evening, April 28, beginning at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, April 29, at the Schlesinger residence; check here more details.