Vera is hiring a Program Associate to join a diverse and growing team and to manage site work in partnership with the people most impacted by our work—corrections staff and incarcerated people—as part of the Restoring Promise Initiative.
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. Vera is committed to securing equal justice, ending mass incarceration, and strengthening families and communities.
- 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.
We work with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime and violence. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace—specifically, we value diverse experiences with regard to educational background and justice system contact. We hire employees that reflect our values: respect, independence, collaboration, and commitment.
Restoring Promise is a partnership between the Vera Institute of Justice and the MILPA Collective. Together, we identify forward thinking corrections agencies to transform living conditions for incarcerated young adults (ages 18-25) and working conditions for staff in jails and prisons across the country. Two core values, rooted in the name, guide the initiative:
- restoring calls for truth telling and healing, a process by which people most impacted by the justice system are partners in reform; and
- promise acknowledges the failed promise to generations of young people, demands commitment to supporting them in realizing their full potential, and asks us to look forward toward a vision of transforming the prison system.
Restoring Promise focuses on prison conditions and young adults for four important reasons:
- Ending Mass Incarceration - Young adults are disproportionately represented at every stage in the justice system, driving mass incarceration.
- Advancing Race Equity - The racial disparities that plague the justice system are more acute for young men of color.
- Eliminating Violence in Corrections - People under the age of 25 are the most at risk of violence in prison and have the highest rate of homicide in prison of any age group.
- Ensuring Success - Young adults return to prison at higher rates compared to any other age group.
What You'll Do
Working closely with the Restoring Promise team and reporting to a Senior Program Associate on the team, the Program Associate will carry out the following responsibilities:
- Provide technical assistance to prisons and jails across the country that are engaged in the Restoring Promise Initiative:
- assist with the development and implementation of new and innovative strategies to improve conditions of confinement for incarcerated young adults ages 18-25;
- help organize and facilitate site visits to prisons and jails with our project partners across the country;
- collect and share research on national and international program models with our correctional site partners;
- assist in the training of correctional staff and incarcerated men who will act as mentors on the units to reset the culture, schedule, and responses to conflict on the unit;
- work with mentees and mentors who are incarcerated to troubleshoot concerns on the unit, resolve conflicts, and develop their own programming based on needs and interests;
- Assist with the development of reports, policy/ research briefs, and other publications that are translated for multiple audiences (the public, stakeholders, academics, government);
- Assist in organizing Restoring Promise Annual Convening's that bring together national experts;
- Develop expertise in specific areas of young adult justice reform, such as culture change in custodial settings, restorative justice, and cross-generational and inter-generational mentorship;
- Support the development of new work on young adults through proposal development and grant writing;
- Provide administrative and organizational support to both Vera and MILPA team members;
- Mentor interns and other team members;
- Manage multiple project deadlines at the same time, many that often have multiple moving parts, team members, and demands.
This is a growing initiative at Vera and MILPA, which means your work will evolve over time. If you were here right now though you might be working on projects like the following:
- Supporting the planning of a staff training for a state correctional agency;
- Organizing workshops for the Restoring Promise annual convening;
- Working in a diverse team of program and research Restoring Promise staff from both MILPA and Vera;
- Helping to organize kick-off meetings for new partner correctional agencies;
- Reviewing policy recommendations for prisons with a race equity and inclusion lens;
- Strategizing effective technical support for our correctional agency partners who are implementing young adult units in their facilities.
Who You Are
You have experience with the justice system—either you were yourself in the system, have a family member who is/ was in the system, or you worked in the system or to reform the system. You have exceptional organizational, communication, and people skills, with an ability to multitask and work collaboratively, with office-based and remote team members, as the projects grow and evolve. You are open to or have experience working inside prisons and jails in partnership with incarcerated people and staff (from people who run jails/ prisons to corrections officers). You can navigate the power dynamics that goes into working across the divide of people that live in prisons and those that work in them.
You have excellent time management skills and are able to meet project deadlines that are varied and overlapping.
You have relevant experience organizing something that required seeing the big picture (the goal/ vision) and making sure that all the details are taken care of to meet the goal (administrative tasks).
You possess cultural humility and are committed to race equity. You bring real commitment to those values and a thoughtful perspective on how best to advance them. You are quick on your feet and willing to hold clear and courageous conversations and communication.
You enjoy working both independently and as part of a team made up of staff from MILPA and Vera across the country, in a fast-paced environment. You excel at both.
You are self-motivated, collaborative and can take initiative and direction on a variety of tasks.
You are proficient with Microsoft Excel, Outlook, Power Point, Word, and easily able to learn new software.
Candidates must have:
- Demonstrated creative thinking and problem-solving ability;
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills;
- Experience in social justice related work, active knowledge in the area of mass incarceration, race equity, and/ or restorative justice. Accompanied by at least one of the following:
- 3-5 years of experience facilitating meetings and/ or workshops;
- 3-5 years of experience coordinating projects;
- 3-5 years working with and alongside community members and youth leaders;
- a BA in a social justice related field with 3-4 years of full-time work experience;
- a MA/ MSW/ MPH/ MPA with 1-2 years work experience in a social justice related field such as criminal justice, juvenile justice, sociology or psychology;
- Ability to analyze and make use of data to develop and evaluate policies, practices, and programs;
- Ability to react and respond with flexibility and thoughtfulness in a wide range of professional environments; a sensitivity to navigating power dynamics across race, class, and position (i.e. people who are incarcerated, people who are formerly incarcerated, family and community members impacted by incarceration, stakeholders, agency leadership, line staff);
- Ability to travel outside of New York City several times a month;
- Ability to travel internationally.
Candidates who have the following qualifications are strongly preferred:
- Has a valid driver's license;
- Experience working directly with or in the juvenile or criminal justice system, and the community;
- Experience leading trainings and facilitating meetings;
- Ability to write clearly and effectively in a variety of different mediums;
- Demonstrate fluency with data analysis (quantitative and qualitative) and support the development of sound, data-driven policies as a member of a multidisciplinary team;
- Bilingual English/ Spanish.
Based on experience, and including excellent benefits, Vera believes in compensating its staff members at or above market. The salary range for this position is $62,000–$67,000.
How to apply
Please submit a cover letter and your resume. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until position is filled. Online submission in PDF format (through Vera's careers page) is preferred; however if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:
ATTN People & Culture/ Digital & Multimedia Curator, Intern
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, 4-2A
Brooklyn, NY 11232
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 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's work, please visit www.vera.org.