Bail Assessment Specialist, More Just New York Initiative New York, NY

Location: New York, NY

Department: Programs and Strategy

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Entry Level

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that combines expertise in research, technical assistance, and demonstration projects to build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities. We work with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from mass deportations, 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. Its projects and reform initiatives, typically conducted in partnership with local, state, or national officials, are located across the United States and around the world. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.

Reforming the money bail system is one of Vera’s strategic priorities in our efforts to end mass incarceration. In the United States, the use of money bail has increased dramatically over recent decades. Nationwide, the average bail set on a felony case is $10,000, yet the Federal Reserve estimates that almost half of all Americans do not have $400 to cover an emergency. In New York City, the average bail on a felony is $5,000, and even lower, at $1,000, for a misdemeanor, yet over half of all New Yorkers still do not make bail. Across the country, recent lawsuits challenging wealth-based pretrial detention have brought to the forefront the importance of considering a person’s individual financial circumstances when making a pretrial release or bail decision. Vera’s recent work on money bail in New York City demonstrates that if the courts use what are known as “alternative” forms of bail readily available under New York law, more people are able to make bail.

Building on this work, Vera is launching a new pilot project in the Bronx and Queens to assist the courts in making more informed bail decisions that promote the use of alternative forms of bail and consider an individual’s ability to pay. We are hiring a bail assessment specialist as a key staff member of this new project. The specialist will be the project’s liaison in the courts, conducting interviews with people arrested who are facing the likelihood of having bail set. The interview will include an assessment about a person’s sources of income, financial obligations, and verify contact information of friends and family members. Based on the interview, the specialist will provide a recommendation to the court about the amount and form of bail that should be set.

Responsibilities

The Bail Assessment Specialist’s duties include the following:

  • Act as the primary liaison for the program with judges, court personnel, and attorneys;
  • Work with defense attorneys to identify potential candidates for bail assessment;
  • Assess a candidate’s financial circumstances through an in-court interview at arraignment;
  • Provide a recommendation to the court to assist judges in making more informed bail decisions;
  • Keep timely and detailed records of all assessed cases; and
  • Collaborate with Vera team members on other project-related tasks, including data analysis, program development, research and writing.

Qualifications

Candidates must:

  • Possess either a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, political science, social work, counseling, or another related field, or demonstrate significant relevant work experience in lieu of a formal degree;
  • Demonstrate a clear commitment to social justice for underserved populations;
  • Be comfortable interacting with people in a high-stress environment, including conducting interviews and soliciting information from people who have been recently arrested, and communicating with attorneys and judges in the courtroom during arraignment;
  • Enjoy working in fast-paced environments, like the courtroom;
  • Have strong written and oral communication skills;
  • Have experience with, or be willing to learn, data collection methods;
  • Be willing to spend most of their time in the courtroom; and
  • Have creativity, flexibility, patience, and follow-through to support a new project in its pilot phase.

 

Ideally, candidates will also:

  • Have familiarity with New York City’s court system;
  • Be bilingual in English and Spanish.

Compensation 
The salary will start at $50,000, based on experience. Excellent benefits and ongoing educational opportunities are an additional plus. 

The Bail Assessment Specialist will be required to routinely travel between the boroughs as necessary for court and to report to Vera’s main office in downtown Manhattan at least once a week. An unlimited monthly MetroCard will be provided. The Bail Assessment Specialist’s hours may vary slightly with arraignment court schedules; however, evening and weekend work is not often required.

How to apply 
Please submit a resume and cover letter. Only candidates with the above credentials will be considered. Online submission in PDF format is preferred. 

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

ATTN: Insha Rahman / Bail Assessment Specialist Position
Vera Institute of Justice 

233 Broadway, 12th Floor 
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 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 Initiative for a More Just New York, please visit www.vera.org.

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