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.
The Justice Scholar Program
Vera’s Justice Scholar program funds up to 10 New York City high school students for a four-week period in the summer. It is an educational program centered around the concept and practice of justice, and its aim is to draw the attention of students to questions of justice. Each week students will learn about different aspect of the criminal justice system, including its history and the aftereffects of mass incarceration. Students will be encouraged to think critically about what values they believe should be promoted in society and whether our institutions reflect those values. Finally, they will learn about the intersection of race, education, economics and the justice system.
The goal of the program is to give students an overview of the criminal justice system and to learn about criminal justice reform through guest speakers, field trips, group projects and class lectures. It will also push students to think critically about the concept of justice and how this concept interacts with major issues in our society, such as racial bias and economic inequality. Finally, we hope the program will develop students writing and analytical skills as well as gain perspective about America’s justice system.
Each week students will learn about a different stage of the criminal justice system. In the first week, students will learn about the history of the criminal justice system in the United States and about the rise of mass incarceration. In the following weeks, students will learn about life before prison (prosecution), life during prison (incarceration) and life after prison (release) in order to understand the entire chronology of incarceration.
The program will start on Monday July 31st and end on Tuesday August 25th. Students will be present for courses, including field trips, Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Students accepted into the program will be compensated $340 weekly and may be subject to federal and state payroll deductions.
Eligibility, Application Process and Deadline
To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in a New York City high school and entering either their Junior or Senior year in the Fall of 2023 with an interest to learn about the criminal justice system.
We welcome applications from students from all walks of life, lived experiences and backgrounds. Please submit a CV/Resume and response to two of the four prompts below. The deadline to apply is April 10, 2023.
Please answer only two of the following questions in 300 to 350 words each.
1. Why are you interested in criminal justice reform?
2. Why would you like to be a Justice Scholar, and why at Vera?
3. Describe yourself! What are your strengths, weaknesses, passions, etc.?
4. What’s a school assignment you completed in the last year or two that you are particularly proud of? Why?
Applications may also be faxed to:
ATTN: People Resources / Summer Justice Scholar Program, Executive
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