The Trump Administration has tapped a longtime critic of federal social programs to head up the National Institute of Justice, the Justice Department’s central agency for research, standards development, and program evaluation.
David Muhlhausen, who got his start as a juvenile corrections officer in Baltimore, was a research fellow in empirical policy analysis at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.
“Dr. Muhlhausen has testified frequently before Congress on the efficiency and effectiveness of various Federal programs,” said a statement issued by the White House. “He has been called most often by the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary to discuss how to improve policing strategies, prisoner reentry programs, and other important criminal justice programs.”
The Trump Administration’s interest in Heritage Foundation’s assessment of federal spending has been evident since January. The first budget proposals that leaked out of the White House, reported on by Alexander Bolton of The Hill, closely followed Heritage’s federal spending plan.
Among the social programs that Heritage would phase out are Head Start, Job Corps, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and grant making by the Office of Justice Programs, which includes the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Muhlhausen has been the chief Heritage proponent of those policies. His first big analysis of federal programs came in 2001 with an analysis challenging the value of the Community Oriented Policing Services program. In 2013, he published the book “Do Federal Social Programs Work?“.