urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Nancy G. La Vigne

Nancy G. La Vigne



Center Director


"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 systems operations and efficiencies in the hopes of elevating that policy conversation to a level of discourse that is 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 that they can make sound decisions about how best to improve the safety and well-being of communities across the country."

Nancy G. 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 four dozen active projects spanning a wide array of crime, justice, and public safety topics. Before being appointed as director, Dr. La Vigne served for eight years as a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, directing projects on prisoner reentry, crime prevention, and the evaluation of criminal justice technologies.

Prior to joining the Urban Institute, Dr. 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 U.S. 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 a variety of scholarly journals and practitioner publications. She testifies frequently before members of Congress on a wide array of criminal justice topics and also serves as a media spokesperson, appearing on NPR's Morning Edition and featured in Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune.

Areas of expertise

prisoner reentry, corrections, crime prevention, policing, justice reinvestment, criminal justice technologies

Selected Publications from Nancy G. La Vigne

  • One Year Out: The Experiences of Male Returning Prisoners in Houston, Texas
  • Broken Bonds: Understanding and Addressing the Needs of Children with Incarcerated Parents
  • Publications by topic:
    Cities and Metropolitan Regions
    Crime and Justice
    Crime Prevention
    Courts and Policing
    Crime Statistics
    Other Data

    See all publications by Nancy G. La Vigne

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