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David Pitts
Senior Fellow
Justice Policy Center
I have seen firsthand the irreparable damage caused by incarceration. I joined Urban to push for sustained, meaningful change in how we think about prisons and jails in the United States.

David Pitts is a senior fellow in the Justice Policy Center and principal investigator for the Prison Research and Innovation Initiative. His research focuses on understanding and mitigating the harms of incarceration on those who live and work in America’s prisons.

Pitts comes to Urban from the Vera Institute of Justice, where he led work about the experiences of incarcerated transgender people, postsecondary education in prison, family visitation, and solitary confinement.

In addition to his criminal legal system research, Pitts has written extensively on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in public policy. He has consulted for government organizations at all levels, from small cities to federal agencies, and has taught a variety of courses to graduate students in public policy and criminal justice programs.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, David earned a bachelor’s degree from Birmingham-Southern College; master’s degrees from Indiana University and the University of California, Irvine; and a PhD from the University of Georgia.

Research Areas
Crime, justice, and safety
Race and equity
Racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice

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