Who we are:

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.

Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.

Who you are:

Vera is seeking two experienced Senior Research Associates to develop and support projects on the Impact Pipeline – our internal development function where we generate new ideas with potential for national impact, pilot those ideas, adapt and improve them, and evaluate their effectiveness. Current examples of projects on the Impact Pipeline include initiatives to eliminate racial bias in prosecution, secure the right to legal representation for people in the immigration system, and address the use of court-imposed fines and fees as a driver of poverty. 

The Senior Research Associate positions will support multiple projects, working collaboratively with teams as they develop and pilot approaches that draw on Vera’s research, advocacy, communications, and site-based technical assistance to address entrenched systemic problems in the criminal legal and immigration systems. They will work with teams to identify research questions, collect and analyze data, and use the results to inform ongoing program design. The Senior Research Associates will work in partnership with Vera’s monitoring evaluating and impact strategy teams to develop outcome maps, theories of change, and M&E frameworks. 

These positions would suit researchers with experience using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods approaches to study issues in the criminal legal system, immigration context, or related fields. We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates with experience managing and analyzing administrative datasets and/or using participatory research methods to develop research partnership with those who are directly impacted by these systems. They will have a track record working with multiple stakeholders, including researchers and non-researchers, to address policy questions in service of program design.  Fluency in racial justice and applied experience using research to address issues of systemic bias are a must. 

Vera’s research 

Research is an essential component of our work to deliver justice and end mass incarceration.  We generate and interpret the evidence required to understand problems, shift policies, develop solutions, and change beliefs and norms that perpetuate inequity and impede justice. Researchers conceptualize issues and collect the evidence that is needed to highlight inequities, design interventions, and advocate for transformative change. We conduct high-quality, rigorous analyses and work with our teammates and allies to ensure that the knowledge reaches decision-makers in a format that is designed to spur action

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Research design and review 

  • Work collaboratively with teams to identify research questions and develop data collection and analytic strategies 
  • Partner with colleagues on the impact pipeline team to develop of theories of change and MEL metrics 
  • Participate in project design and strategic planning sessions 
  • Provide training and advice to project teams on quantitative and qualitative research methods (based on experience and skillset) 
  • Develop and monitor the execution of project workplans to ensure conformity with deadlines and budget 

Data collection, management, and analysis 

  • Collect, manage and analyze quantitative and qualitative data, based on the needs of individual projects 
  • Conduct secondary analysis of existing datasets and conduct literature review on relevant topics 
  • Lead and develop discrete components of research initiatives and train and supervise others on accompanying analyses (quant or qual) 
  • Identify and partner with external research consultants

Write up/presentation of research 

  • Lead development, writing and/or editing of research summaries, reports, and other materials to inform strategic planning and program development 
  • Produce reports and other materials for project and other external audiences in support of project or initiative goals  


  • Develop and present IRB applications and ensure that research is conducted to the highest ethical standards, may serve as “Principal Investigator” on research projects requiring this designation 


  • Support hiring and recruitment for research associates, analysts, assistants, and/or interns 
  • Supervise and mentor research associates, analysts, assistants, and/or interns as needed

What qualifications do you need?


  • Ph.D. and 1+ years of work experience, Masters and 4+ years, or equivalent applied experience 
  • Experience working with multiple stakeholders to address policy questions 
  • Commitment to racial equity and its intersections and experience engaging in conversations about race, equity, and inclusion 
  • Strong task management and organizational skills 
  • Excellent communication, writing, and interpersonal skills 
  • Ability to work on multiple projects effectively and efficiently, both independently and collaboratively with a team 
  • Knowledge of or lived experience with criminal and immigration legal systems preferable 

List of Required Software Applications:

  • Will vary depending on methodology and initiative 

Compensation and Benefits:  

The compensation range for this position is $99,000 – $104,000. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time and remote work schedules. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings,  click here

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Senior Research Associate, R & MEL 
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

As a federal contractor, and in order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status. 

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission. 

For more information about Vera, please visit www.vera.org

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