William G. Nagel, 92, president of the American Foundation in Philadelphia from 1969 to his retirement in 1983, died of congestive heart failure on March 30 at his home at Sunrise Assisted Living in Boulder, Colo.

Now known as the Bok Tower Gardens Foundation, the the entity operated an institute of corrections, of which Mr. Nagel was director.

The institute conducted national studies that resulted in the 1973 work The New Red Barn: A Critical Look at the Modern American Prison, said son William F.

Much of Mr. Nagel's career was focused on prisons, his son said.

Born in Trenton, Mr. Nagel graduated from Trenton Central High School, attended what is now Wake Forest University for two years before money ran out, and took a job on the Philadelphia docks with Swift & Co.

Transferred to Chicago, he worked as a management trainee at Swift stockyards while studying business at the University of Chicago.

In April 1941, he enlisted in the Army and spent 34 months in the South Pacific, eventually earning his officer's commission.

Using the GI Bill, he earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1948. From 1949 to 1960, he worked at the state reformatory at Bordentown, N.J., rising to associate superintendent.

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency recruited him to help with state-prison reform, his son said, working out of NCCD offices in Charleston, W.Va., from 1960 through 1962 and Harrisburg from 1962 through 1964.

Mr. Nagel served as vice chairman of the Pennsylvania Governor's Justice Commission and the Criminal Justice Advisory Board of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

Haverford College awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1978, his son said, citing his "years of wise, compassionate and devoted leadership in correctional reform and criminal justice."

The NCCD gave him its Roscoe Pound Award, his son said, and he received the Pennsylvania Prison Society Award for Outstanding Service and the first Criminal Justice Achievement Award of the Citizens Crime Commission of Philadelphia.

Besides his son William, Mr. Nagel is survived by two more sons, Jack and Robert; 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren, and a sister. His wife, Ethel, died in 2003.

A memorial service is to take place at 3 p.m. April 18 at Sunrise Assisted Living in Boulder, Colo.