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's work in New Orleans began in 2006, when the City Council invited us to assess the criminal justice system and propose reforms as part of post-Katrina recovery efforts. Since then, we have become a nexus for advancing evidence-based reform and have demonstrated that change is not only possible but within reach. In partnership with people leading and working in the local justice system, city leaders, and community organizations, we are working to end unnecessary detention and develop innovative, collaborative projects that improve the delivery of justice in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana. 

Vera’s Louisiana office seeks a senior research associate to support our work across several strategic priorities (advancing prosecution reform, investing in thriving communities, creating a statewide dashboard of incarceration in Louisiana, and advocating for the creation of a community solutions center and a continuum of care network to address mental health needs in New Orleans). The Senior Research Associate (SRA) will be part of a New Orleans based team and reports to the Vera Louisiana Associate Director of Research. They are also a member of Vera’s larger research department, which provides interdisciplinary support to more than 65 research and data science staff.  

The SRA plays a core role in managing and implementing a body of work under the supervision of the ADR, including research design, data collection and cleaning, supervision and training of other staff, analysis and presentation of results on several quantitative research projects in the Louisiana office. The SRA should have experience with criminal legal system administrative data and how to present findings to policy audiences and community-based partners.  

The SRA provides supervision, support, and mentorship to members of their team and may also provide advice, methodological guidance, and peer review to researchers working on other projects and initiatives, coordinating closely with staff across Vera’s regional offices. The SRA is expected to also support efforts to ensure Vera’s race, equity, and inclusion priorities are a core aspect of the research, including in methodological approaches, publications, hiring and staffing, and external and internal research communications.  

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Research design and review 

  • Develop and oversee processes and infrastructure for management and analysis of administrative data and other quantitative datasets. 
  • Support the development of an initiative or program theory of change and monitoring, evaluating, and learning (MEL) metrics. 
  • Conduct peer-review of research designs and analysis plans, especially for quantitative analyses.

Data collection, management, and analysis 

  • Lead, train, and supervise others on data collection (with a focus on quantitative methods).  
  • Lead and develop discrete components of research initiatives and train and supervise others on accompanying analyses (emphasis on quantitative methods). 
  • Help develop and maintain local data management structures and protocol.   
  • Produce policy-relevant data analysis and research products that advance the priorities of the Louisiana office. 

Dissemination of research

  • Lead development, writing, and/or editing of research publications and evidence-based messaging and products in support of project or initiative goals.  
  • Present Vera’s research to internal and external audiences, including academic and policy-focused conferences and professional meetings.  

Institutional Review Board 

  • 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. 
  • Ensure research data are stored and managed in compliance with IRB protocols. 

Hiring/Supervision 

  • 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?

Required: 

  • Generally PhD and 2+ years of work experience, a Masters and 5+ years applied research, or equivalent applied experience over 7+ years.
  • Senior Research Associates have strong research and emerging leadership skills, and commitment to race equity. They may have experience and insights from being personally impacted by criminal legal or immigration systems. 

List of Required Software Applications:

  • Advanced skills in SQL and database manipulation and management 
  • Advanced skills in querying data and producing descriptive statistics using either SQL, R, and/or Python 
  • Advanced skills in quantitative analysis using SPSS, SAS, Stata or similar software 
  • Advanced quantitative skills are preferred, including hands-on experience with administrative datasets and both predictive and causal analyses; ability to think creatively about how to use statistical methods to address pressing policy questions 
  • Strong interpersonal skills to communicate complex research ideas to lay audiences 
  • Knowledge of critical race theory and structural inequality 
  • Strong teamwork and collaboration skills  
  • Willingness to collaborate with non-researchers to design research projects that advance strategic priorities of the office 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience creating, implementing, and maintaining data management structures for quantitative data sets 
  • Experience with skill sharing/teaching and mentoring junior researchers and/or non-researchers 
  • Experience with applied social research and/or participatory action research to shape public policy 
  • Experience with criminal legal system research 
  • Experience with GIS and/or other data visualizations 
  • Familiarity with qualitative research and mixed methods research  
  • Lived experience as a person with criminal legal system involvement 

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. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings,  click here

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Senior Research Associate, Vera Louisiana 
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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