We received word this morning that Timothy Bray, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas, has been named the new director of the J. McDonald Williams Institute, effective September 1. Bray replaces the institutes's co-founder, Marcus Martin, who's going to head up Education is Freedom, which tries to keep some 1,200 "at-risk" students from dropping out of three Dallas high schools. (Among the Education is Freedom board members: State Rep. Rafael Anchia, retired PepsiCo vice chairman Al Bru and Anheuser-Busch president August A. Busch IV.)
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Makes sense Bray would get the job, as the J. McDonald Williams Institute is fairly obsessed with crime, especially as it relates to urban poverty. It's responsible for such studies as Helen Taylor Greene's October 2006 "Prisoner Reentry and Transition in Dallas, TX," as well as myriad breakdowns of just where crime occurs within the city limits and, more important, how it affects those areas. Incidentally, while visiting the institutes's Web site this morning, I noticed that on October 22, the Third Annual Williams Institute Conference takes place October 22 at the Adam's Mark Hotel, with Mayor Tom Leppert and the city council in attendance; there will also be panels on crime and safety, urban revitalization and education, among other subjects. --Robert Wilonsky