Vera Institute of Justice Names Mary Crowley Director of Communications

NEW YORK, NY—The Vera Institute of Justice has appointed Mary Crowley as its new director of communications. Crowley brings more than 25 years of strategic communications and journalism expertise to the position. Most recently, she was director of public affairs and communications at The Hastings Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan bioethics research institute, where she developed and led a nationally recognized department that advanced Hastings’ effort to promote thoughtful public discussion and inform policy on a range of issues in bioethics.

As part of Vera’s senior management team, Crowley will be responsible for shaping communications strategy to build upon Vera's reputation as a national research and policy organization. She will lead a department that will use Vera’s longstanding expertise to inform and enhance the public and policy dialogue around crucial justice issues, including youth justice, sentencing and corrections, immigration, and victimization and safety, and other key areas such as substance use and mental health, cost-benefit analysis, and prosecution.

“Mary’s experience building strategic communications capacity around critical and complex issues makes her an ideal choice to lead Vera’s communications efforts, particularly at a time when fiscal constraints give increased urgency to the wise shepherding of justice policy and resources,” said Michael Jacobson, director and president of the Vera Institute of Justice. “We are delighted that she will use her talents to increase the impact of Vera’s work.”

Crowley’s contributions at The Hastings Center include developing a widely used briefing book for journalists and policymakers, establishing an office in Washington DC, hosting Capitol Hill briefings, and launching three highly regarded blogs. Most recently, she co-produced a PBS special for NOVA, the nation’s most-watched science show, on ethical issues raised by genetic testing. The documentary, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, was awarded a prestigious Kavli Science Journalism Award by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“I have long admired Vera, which works with government and other partners to improve systems of justice—and the lives of people affected by them—locally, nationally, and internationally,” said Crowley. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to come aboard and work with its leadership and staff to build its communications capacity and further its important mission.”

Prior to Hastings, Crowley worked with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a key team member on its Cover the Uninsured Campaign. She also co-founded and served as editorial and news director of Praxis Press, an online medical publisher. There, in addition to building a nationally acclaimed editorial board, she launched Praxis Post, an award-winning webzine of medicine and culture. A respected journalist, Crowley has written widely for international media, including Newsweek, the New York Times, and The Lancet. She holds a BA in political economics from Barnard College at Columbia University, and has done graduate work in philosophy at The Graduate Center at City College of New York.

Crowley succeeds Robin Campbell, who left Vera after more than 10 years to become press secretary for the New York City Department of Correction.