Senior Program Associate/Program Associate, Initiative For A More Just New York

Location: New York, NY

Department: Program and Strategy

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Mid Level

The Vera Institute of Justice is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.

Criminal justice in New York is at a moment of great potential, with the opportunity to not only improve local practices but to create new policies and programs that serve as national models for innovation and reform. Over two decades, New York City has cut its jail population by half while dramatically improving public safety and reducing crime. Across the rest of the state, reform is afoot to improve local bail practices, provide more effective access to counsel, and reduce the use of unnecessary pretrial detention.

Vera’s Initiative for a More Just New York capitalizes on the momentum of criminal justice reform in New York. Our work in New York has deep roots, from the Manhattan Bail Project, launched in 1961 as Vera’s first demonstration project, to our key role on the Independent Commission for New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, known colloquially as the Rikers Commission, which recently released a report with recommendations and a ten-year plan for the closure of Rikers Island.

The More Just New York Initiative will focus on a number of efforts to drive criminal justice reform in New York, including overhauling the bail system so that a person’s wealth no longer determines their liberty; developing new approaches for specific populations within the justice system, such as individuals with substance use and behavioral health disorders, women, and young people; and partnering with criminal justice stakeholders to promote policies and new practices that lead to more just outcomes and reduce the use of incarceration.

The Initiative seeks an experienced professional to join a small, collaborative team of lawyers, researchers, and policy experts to work on these efforts.


Reporting to the project director for the More Just New York Initiative, the senior program associate/program associate’s responsibilities will include:

  • playing an integral role in the development of new work in New York City and New York State;
  • developing and maintaining relationships with partners and stakeholders in government, nonprofit, policy, and advocacy arenas;
  • providing technical assistance to our partners and stakeholders, including public presentations, facilitating meetings, and sharing expertise;
  • developing expertise in specific areas of reform such as bail and pretrial justice, access to counsel, and jail reduction strategies;
  • working collaboratively with other Initiative staff to implement and complete specific projects;
  • supervising junior staff on projects; and
  • researching, writing, and producing reports, memoranda, and briefs.


The qualified candidate will have a background in criminal justice with a deep commitment to reform and an interest in working collaboratively in a fast-paced, nimble environment. A law degree and experience working within criminal justice settings in New York (i.e., as a practicing attorney) are preferred, although experience outside of New York, expertise in criminal justice policy, and extensive work experience without an advanced degree will also be considered.

Vera is looking for applicants with: 

  • Preferably a law degree, although relevant experience and other backgrounds will be considered;
  • Familiarity with the courts and the criminal justice system in New York;
  • At least 3-5 years of relevant work experience;
  • Excellent oral communication skills, with experience in public speaking;
  • Strong writing skills;
  • Experience and familiarity with social science and legal research; and
  • Exceptional organizational abilities and attention to detail.



To Apply

Please submit cover letter and resume. Applications received after the deadline may not be reviewed.

Online submission in PDF format is preferred.  However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to

ATTN: Human Resources / More Just New York SPA/PA Position

Vera Institute of Justice

233 Broadway, 12th Flr.

New York, NY 10279

Fax: (212) 941-9407


Please use only one method of submission (online, mail or fax).


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, or current employment 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 our website,

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