Nancy La Vigne, an expert on crime prevention and prisoner reentry, will become director of the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center on October 1. She succeed Terence Dunworth, who has directed the center for seven years and will become an Institute fellow. With a research portfolio of three dozen projects and a staff of 35, the center conducts research for government agencies, foundations, and local nonprofit organizations.
La Vigne joined the center in 2001 after six years at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research arm of the Justice Department. At the Urban Institute, she oversaw 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 created the Reentry Mapping Network, a partnership with organizations in 15 cities to pinpoint services to help returning prisoners and reduce recidivism. As research director of Texas's sentencing commission in the 1990s, she participated in restructuring adult felony sentencing practices.