Michael Simmons

Michael Simmons, Senior Program Director, michael.simmons@rutgers.edu 

Michael Simmons has more than ten years of experience in community development and criminal justice policy. Prior to joining the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, Dr. Simmons served as director of the Augusta, Georgia, Weed and Seed Initiative, and later as a researcher for the University of New Orleans Center for Law and Justice. During his tenure with Weed and Seed, Dr. Simmons oversaw the creation of community development policies that led to a dramatic decline in crime rates in what was previously one of the most crime-ridden communities in the city of Augusta.

While serving as a researcher for the Center for Law and Justice, Dr. Simmons conducted a variety of projects, including assessments of the U.S. Attorney’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative to decrease gun violence in New Orleans and the implementation of a community-based gunshot detection system. He currently manages the Cornwall Center’s youth crime and delinquency programs. 

Dr. Simmons's current projects and research interests include strengthening supportive services to young adults disconnected from educational and employment opportunities, addressing place-based crime and safety issues, and improving the life chances of males of color. 

Dr. Simmons holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina-Aiken, a master’s degree in Urban Studies from Old Dominion University, and a Ph.D. from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.