URBAN INSTITUTE

Expert

Nancy G. La Vigne
Expert

Nancy G. La Vigne

Director, Justice Policy Center

Historically, criminal justice policy has been driven by emotions and politics. I entered this field with an interest in generating knowledge on effective criminal justice policies and providing guidance on improvements in justice system operations and efficiencies in the hopes of elevating that policy conversation to a level of discourse guided by facts. My colleagues and I at the Justice Policy Center aim to put objective research findings into the hands of policymakers and practitioners so they can make sound decisions about how best to improve the safety and well-being of communities across the country.

Biography

Nancy La Vigne is director of the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where she leads a staff of over 35 researchers and oversees a research portfolio of more than 50 active projects spanning a wide array of crime, justice, and public safety topics. Before being appointed director, she served for eight years as a senior research associate at Urban, directing projects on prisoner reentry, crime prevention, and the evaluation of criminal justice technologies.

Before joining Urban, La Vigne was the founding director of the Crime Mapping Research Center at the National Institute of Justice—the research, technology, and evaluation arm of the US Department of Justice (DOJ). She later served as special assistant to the assistant attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs within DOJ. She has held positions as research director for the Texas sentencing commission, research fellow at the Police Executive Research Forum, and consultant to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Her research interests focus on criminal justice evaluation, prisoner reentry, crime prevention, and the spatial analysis of crime and criminal behavior. She has published widely on these topics, appearing in various scholarly journals and practitioner publications. She testifies frequently before members of Congress on a wide array of criminal justice topics and serves as a media spokesperson.

La Vigne, who is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, received her BA from Smith College, MPA from the University of Texas, and PhD in criminal justice from Rutgers University.