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.

Reshaping Prosecution works with prosecutors to limit who enters the system, primarily through declining and diverting cases, and to build evidence that doing so is a better path to safety. We believe, based on our country’s history of using power to marginalize people of color, that any system dedicated to safety should be racially equitable and accountable to the people it serves. As such, our work is guided by three principles with a focus on supporting safer communities: shrinking the front end of the system; addressing systemic racial disparities; and increasing accountability to directly impacted communities. 

Who You Are:

There are two program associate positions available, one position will be with our Deep Dives Site Engagements, the other will join the Motion for Justice Campaign Initiative.

Deep Dive Site Engagement: As the Program Associate, you will support our technical assistance engagements with prosecutor offices to implement reforms that limit who enters the criminal system, address racial disparities (e.g. Black people may make up 15 percent of a county, but 50 percent of cases referred to an office), increase collaboration with and accountability to local communities, and build a case that these reforms contribute to safer communities. The Program Associate will build relationships with partners and potential partners, draft written materials, and review, analyze, and synthesize research and other information relevant to program activities. The Program Associate will also staff our case study work to learn implementation lessons from offices around the country or support a cohort of alum offices as they continue pursuing reforms. The position will also require monthly travel and some administrative responsibilities including scheduling, travel planning, and planning convenings for our partners. 

Motion for Justice Campaign: The Motion for Justice (MFJ) Campaign is an initiative within the Reshaping Prosecution team piloting a “light touch” technical assistance model which centers racial equity in prosecution reform.  Through a train the trainer model, the team works with 10 jurisdictions around the country in partnership with local community-based organizations to shift culture within the office towards a racially equitable approach, implement diversion programs aimed at addressing racial disparities, and provide data assistance in order to target areas for policy reform. The role will include building relationships with both community and prosecutor partners, drafting written materials, reviewing, analyzing, and synthesizing research and other information relevant to program activities. The Program Associate will work with MFJ staff to facilitate conversations within prosecutors’ offices aimed at changing culture and reducing racial disparities. The Program Associate will collaborate and provide thought partnership with community-based organization partners around how to work with prosecutors towards effecting change. The position will also require monthly travel and some administrative responsibilities including scheduling, travel planning, and planning convenings for our partners. 

What you'll do:

Working internally to support site engagements 

  • Receiving tasks necessary to support site engagements from a Program Manager and accomplishing them with close guidance 
  • Contributing to strategies on how to address obstacles that arise during the site engagement 
  • Working with Program Manager and team researchers to interpret the data analysis and identify policy reforms to propose to a site partner office 
  • Assisting with the preparation of PowerPoint presentations, training materials, and memos to further the site engagement 
  • Gathering and reviewing relevant background information about the site partner jurisdiction and reform 
  • Working with qualitative researchers to assist with community outreach in support of participatory action research 

Assisting site engagement partner offices on implementing policy and practice reforms  

  • Conducting community outreach to those most impacted by the system to learn their reform prioritiesefforts 
  • Assisting with the development of trainings for staff within the office on importance and context of new policies and practices 
  • Assisting with the facilitation of discussions within office working groups (for the MFJ campaign this work is done within a train the trainer model) 
  • Assisting with identifying reforms and presenting them to the office 
  • Assisting with the development of presentations to community members on the power of prosecutors, their impact on the community, and potential reforms 

Monitoring the national conversation on prosecution reform and diversion 

  • Reviewing and staying abreast of news in the prosecution reform space 
  • Attending conferences and trainings on prosecution reform and related areas 
  • Contributing to strategize internally on new approaches to prosecution reform 

Assisting with conception and execution of internal and external conferences, trainings, and retreat

What qualifications are we looking for?

  • Basic understanding of the role of the prosecutor 
  • Bachelors degree + 3-4 years of relevant experience; in lieu of a Bachelors degree, applicable work or life experience, particularly as a person with justice system involvement, will be considered  
  • Prior facilitation experience  
  • Ability to discuss race equity issues within the criminal legal system 
  • Demonstrated ability to support a project from start to finish 

Preferred:

  • Master's degree in education, social work, or related field 
  • Demonstrated ability to work with advocates, government officials, criminal legal system personnel, practitioners, and people who are directly impacted by the criminal system  
  • Prior experience working with prosecutors 
  • Prior teaching experience  

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring: 

  • Understand the impact of structural racism and oppression and be able to speak about commitment to community building, equal justice, and racial equity 
  • Ability to take ownership over projects, proactively seek solutions, work on multiple projects simultaneously, effectively, and efficiently, both independently and collaboratively with colleagues 
  • Emotional intelligence and an understanding that pursuing courageous conversations around racial equity will require emotional labor 
  • Willingness and desire to travel frequently (at least once per month) for site visitation and collaboration 
  • Comfortable reviewing criminal justice data sets 
  • Strong oral and written communication skills 
  • Strong multi-tasking abilities and organizational skills 
  • Ability to actively listen and collaborate  

Additional Eligibility Requirements:

  • Driver's License  

Location:

Please note this role will be based out of any of our four office locations. Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule that generally amounts to 10 days per month.  

Compensation and Benefits:

The compensation range for this position is $75,000 - $80,000.  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. Please note Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule: two days in office their first week and three days in office every alternating week. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings,  click here.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Program Associate, Reshaping Prosecution  
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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