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Senior Program Associate, Reducing the Use of Jails - NYC, NOLA, DC, LA

Vera Institute of Justice New York Full-Time
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Please note that our Manhattan office will be relocating in September to Industry City in Brooklyn, NY. 

This is a full time position preferably based in New York City, but we will consider preferences for basing the position in one of Vera’s other offices (Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Los Angeles). 

Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections (CSC) is seeking a passionate and motivated individual to help grow our efforts to end mass incarceration where it starts - in local jails - and increase racial equity in local criminal justice systems. The Senior Program Associatewill develop and lead new place-based technical assistance efforts in collaboration with government and community stakeholders, with a focus on developing policy reform and investment alternatives to jail construction. The Senior Program Associate will be a part of CSC’s jail decarceration team, which includes policy experts and researchers working in jurisdictions around the country, and will join existing CSC projects and help to enterprise new work and new approaches to driving change.   

Who We Are

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, envisions a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for everyone. 

  • We study problems that impede human dignity and justice.
  • We pilot solutions that are at once transformative and achievable.
  • We engage diverse communities in informed debate.
  • We harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice.

Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections (CSC) is a group of dynamic and diverse staff who share a passion for social justice and a commitment to excellence in all of our work.  CSC has a staff of 27, who encompass expertise in the law, corrections, bail reform and pretrial justice systems, conditions of confinement, social science research, cost benefit analysis, family engagement, reentry, post-secondary education, and more. They work on nearly a dozen projects spanning sentencing and correctional policy and practice reform. This, includes projects focused on jail and pre-trial reform, reductions in prison and jail populations, expanding access to higher education during incarceration, reentry and public housing, and reducing the use of solitary confinement in correctional facilities.


The Senior Program Associate’s duties include the following:

  • Working with the Project Director overseeing CSC’s jail decarceration efforts and CSC senior leadership to identify new opportunities to work with jurisdictions to reduce their jail populations and invest in alternatives to jail construction;
  • Managing various new and existing jail decarceration projects, including coordinating project team activities, supervising junior staff, producing project deliverables, and managing project budgets;
  • Providing ongoing technical assistance to our partners in the field, including both on-site and from the office, on issues related to reducing the use of jail incarceration.  Tasks include helping government stakeholders and community members understand their local justice systems and use data analysis; facilitating collaborative planning processes among system stakeholders and community members; providing guidance on national research and program models; developing recommendations; delivering presentations to various stakeholder groups; and helping structure the implementation of reforms.
  • Collaborating in researching and writing reports, memoranda, and briefs.
  • Participating in collaborative planning with Vera staff and partner agencies; 
  • Mentoring staff; 
  • Assisting with maintaining a collegial and collaborative work environment across project staff working in different Vera offices;
  • Planning meetings, trainings and larger convenings;
  • Other tasks as required. 


  • Law degree or graduate degree in criminal justice, policy or public administration preferred, with 5 to 10 years of relevant experience in government or public policy development, preferably in a criminal justice-related area; extensive practice experience without an advanced degree also considered; 
  • Demonstrated knowledge of policy development, government, criminal justice and social justice for underserved populations;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and racial equity; 
  • Administrative experience, including budget development and management, personnel management, and working with funders and important government partners;
  • Strong writing skills;
  • Experience and comfort with social science and/or legal research. 
  • Excellent strategic, problem-solving, and analytic skills;
  • Ability to work under time pressure and other stresses that make collegiality of critical importance;
  • Ability to manage work on multiple projects effectively and efficiently;
  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills;
  • Ability to work with people of diverse experiences and backgrounds;
  • Willingness and ability to work independently as well as with a team; and
  • Excited to travel extensively domestically.


Commensurate with experience, plus excellent benefits.

How to apply

Please submit cover letter and resume. Online submission in PDF format is preferred. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until position is filled.

However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to

ATTN: Human Resources / CSC Jails SPA Recruitment

Vera Institute of Justice

233 Broadway, 12thFloor

New York, NY 10279

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. 

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, 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 and the Center on Sentencing and Corrections, please visit URL blocked - click to apply


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