LWOP Project Manager

Children’s Rights Division

(Los Angeles Office)

Application Deadline: Open until filled


Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a Project Manager to lead its upcoming project on life without parole (LWOP) sentences in California. HRW has worked to eliminate life without parole sentences since 2004, publishing research in multiple reports on the use of the sentence in the US and successfully leading to passage the first retroactive law providing re-sentencing for youth in 2012 in California, and later worked to pass SB 394. In the next 6 months HRW will work on building leadership capacity among people formerly sentenced to LWOP, create a leadership council, initiate a communications strategy, and establish a mechanism for ongoing data collection, among other things.

The Project Manager will work in the Children’s Rights Division (“CRD”), based in Los Angeles. CRD focuses on issues affecting children around the world including child labor, armed conflict, education, migration, and juvenile justice. The position reports to Elizabeth Calvin, Senior Advocate of the Children’s Rights Division in our Los Angeles office. This is a 6-month fixed-term, non-renewable, half-time (20 hours per week) position.


  1. Establish contact and develop relationships with external partners, including people who have been paroled and currently incarcerated individuals;
  2. Create and maintain a filing and archiving system;
  3. Partner with CRD Senior Associate to develop strategy for communications campaign on ending LWOP sentences;
  4. Schedule, plan, and implement trainings on public speaking, messaging, meeting with policymakers, writing op-eds, and speaking with the press;
  5. Create communication channels between HRW and formerly incarcerated individuals to ensure that LWOP survivors can help shape reform;
  6. Coordinate meetings, roundtables, prison workshops, stakeholder meetings, and special events with visitors, NGOs, and government officials;
  7. Maintain strong communication between HRW offices, external partners, people in prison, and families of incarcerated individuals;
  8. Draft communications, including simple letters and emails;
  9. Represent HRW in various public events including on panels, conferences, meetings, etc.;
  10. Work with California-based NGOs and coalitions to further HRW work;
  11. Assist with desk and phone research, and electronic clippings;
  12. Carry out other duties as required.



Education: A Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent level of experience in work and/or leadership roles is preferred. Work and leadership experience gained while incarcerated is highly valued.   

Experience:  Individuals who have personal experience with the justice system, formerly incarcerated individuals (especially people who had the sentence life without parole), and crime survivors are highly encouraged to apply.

Related Skills and Knowledge: 

  1. Optimism, a sense of humor, and excitement about joining a supportive, skilled, and diverse team.
  2. Strong organizational skills with meticulous attention to detail are required.
  3. Self-motivation and the ability to take initiative, prioritize with minimal supervision, and work independently as well as function as a member of a team are required.
  4. Openness to supervision and re-direction, and willingness to embrace new ways of doing things.
  5. Excellent ability to work collaboratively and respectfully with others in multicultural teams, across organizational boundaries and with employees and external partners of all backgrounds.
  6. Strong critical thinking/analytical skills, creativity, and a proven drive for quality.
  7. Proficiency in computer packages including MS Office applications is highly desirable, or a strong drive to learn these programs and improve skills.
  8. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are required; fluency in other languages (particularly Spanish) is highly desirable.
  9. Strong interest in criminal justice reform and international human rights and a commitment to racial, social, and restorative justice is required.
  10. Strong interpersonal skills are required.
  11. Ability to work well under pressure while juggling multiple tasks simultaneously is required.
  12. Ability to make sound decisions consistent with functions is required.
  13. Ability to prioritize with minimal supervision and work independently as well as function as a member of a team is required.

Other: Please note that occasional evening work will be required for special events.

Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits.

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by visiting our online job portal at and attaching a letter of interest, resume, preferably as PDF files. No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, please email your questions to Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.


Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of ability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.





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