Nancy La Vigne, an expert on crime prevention and prisoner reentry and the founding director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Mapping and Analysis for Public Safety program, will become the director of the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center on October 1.
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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 15, 2009—Nancy La Vigne, an expert on crime prevention and prisoner reentry and the founding director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Mapping and Analysis for Public Safety program, will become the director of the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center on October 1. She will succeed Terence Dunworth, who has directed the center for seven years and will become an Institute fellow this fall.
With a research portfolio of over three dozen projects and a staff of 35, the Justice Policy Center conducts research for government agencies, foundations, and local nonprofit organizations. The center’s research and program evaluation efforts address many criminal justice topics, including prisoner reentry, youth gang violence prevention, and the use of DNA evidence for investigations, prosecutions, and exonerations.
La Vigne joined the Justice Policy Center in 2001 as a senior research associate after six years at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research arm of the Justice Department, where she also was a special assistant to the assistant attorney general for justice programs during the Clinton administration. At the Urban Institute, La Vigne has overseen a groundbreaking study of prisoners returning to their communities and families. This research has generated dozens of recommendations on policies and practices that can increase the likelihood of ex-prisoners’ successful reintegration. She also created and served as the principal investigator for the Reentry Mapping Network, a partnership with organizations in 15 cities to pinpoint the location of support services to help returning prisoners and reduce recidivism. Currently, La Vigne is analyzing the crime-reducing effectiveness of public surveillance cameras in three cities.
“The issues that motivate Nancy and her research are at the core of community well-being, individual safety and peace of mind, and the health of state and local budgets,” said Robert Reischauer, the president of the Urban Institute. “The Justice Policy Center and, ultimately, the American people will benefit greatly from her research leadership.”
At NIJ, La Vigne also served as a senior social science analyst, managing NIJ’s intramural research program, directing its research on the spatial analysis of crime, and conducting research on mass-transit crime prevention and homicide trends. As the research director of Texas’s sentencing commission in the early 1990s, she participated in restructuring the state’s adult felony sentencing practices.
La Vigne, who received her doctorate in criminal justice from Rutgers University, is an associate editor of Security Journal and Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. Results of her research have appeared in many leading publications in the field.
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