Announcement Urban Institute Names David Pitts as Vice President for Justice Policy
Display Date

August 24, 2023

Contact: [email protected]

Today, the Urban Institute announced David Pitts as the new vice president for Justice Policy. Pitts joined Urban in 2021 as a senior fellow and has served as interim associate vice president since January, guiding Urban’s Justice Policy Center through a period of transition.

“While the US criminal legal system continues to reckon with deeply rooted racial inequities, changemakers need evidence and solutions that improve the well-being of the people most affected by the system and by crime,” said Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell. “As vice president for Justice Policy, David brings a strong commitment to evidence-based strategies that center the perspectives of those closest to the problems. His steady leadership and collaborative nature will bring together Urban’s safety and justice experts to achieve new kinds of impact for people and communities.” 

A national expert on prison reform, Pitts directs Urban’s Prison Research and Innovation Initiative, a multiyear project that leverages research to promote transparency, innovation, and well-being in US prisons. Before joining Urban, Pitts held positions at the Vera Institute of Justice, American University, and Georgia State University. He is currently an adjunct professor at John Jay College, City University of New York, where he teaches courses in research methods and corrections policy. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Pitts 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.

About the Urban Institute

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit research organization that provides data and evidence to help advance upward mobility and equity. We are a trusted source for changemakers who seek to strengthen decision making, create inclusive economic growth, and improve the well-being of families and communities. For more than 50 years, Urban has delivered facts that inspire solutions—and this remains our charge today.


Tune in and subscribe today.

The Urban Institute podcast, Evidence in Action, inspires changemakers to lead with evidence and act with equity. Co-hosted by Urban President Sarah Rosen Wartell and Executive Vice President Kimberlyn Leary, every episode features in-depth discussions with experts and leaders on topics ranging from how to advance equity, to designing innovative solutions that achieve community impact, to what it means to practice evidence-based leadership.


Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety
Policy Centers Justice Policy Center