Senior Research Associate, CYJ

Location: New York, NY

Department: Center on Youth and Justice

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Mid Level

Action Areas

Bringing Dignity to Life Behind Bars

Supporting Kids and Young Adults

Please note that our Manhattan office will be relocating to Industry City in Brooklyn, NY next year.

Vera is hiring a Senior Research Associate to join a diverse and growing team  and to manage a study examining the    impact of innovative young adult housing on reducing violence in prisons as part of the Restoring Promise initiative. The study is a randomized control trial that will begin this fall. The Senior Research Associate will be the key person managing the preparation, data collection, and analysis of this high-impact study. 

Restoring Promise partners with forward thinking corrections agencies in jails and prisons across the country to transform living conditions for incarcerated young adults (ages 18-25) and working conditions for staff. Two core values, rooted in the name, guide the initiative: 

  1. restoring calls for truth telling and healing, a process by which people most impacted by the justice system are partners in reform; and 
  2. 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: 

  1. Ending Mass Incarceration - Young adults are disproportionately represented at every stage in the justice system, driving mass incarceration. 
  2. Advancing Race Equity - The racial disparities that plague the justice system are more acute for young adults. 
  3. 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.  
  4. Ensuring Success - Young adults return to prison at higher rates compared to any other age group.  

Restoring Promise currently has three partnerships with departments of corrections: Connecticut, Middlesex County in Massachusetts, and South Carolina.

The Vera Institute of Justice

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.

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. 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.

Violence in Prison Reduction Study 

This new study is the first effort to estimate the impact of the Restoring Promise approach, though it builds on qualitative collaborative research projects and process evaluations in our sites. Through this groundbreaking study, Vera will begin to build a body of evidence and help departments of corrections identify changes to their practices around human dignity that are rooted in data and evidence. 


Reporting directly to the Center on Youth Justice Research Director, the Senior Research Associate will support the center’s research on young adults in jails and prisons, manage research activities for theRCT on reducing violence in prisons, and develop new research studies.

In particular, the Senior Research Associate will:

  • Manage a randomized control trial, in partnership with our partner department of corrections and in collaboration with project staff; 
  • Coordinate all field logistics and research efforts with all relevant stakeholders;
  • Manage data and collaborate effectively with state data systems and the partners who run them; 
  • Develop research designs, conduct and supervise analysis, and document methods and findings, for public consumption, as well as internal materials; 
  • Translate and present findings to diverse audiences 
  • Develop new research projects that explore the ways that innovative approaches to confinement affect the outcomes for people who live and work in prisons; and
  • Mentor and supervise research staff and review all of their project work.

About You:

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 are deeply committed to the missions of racial justice and ending mass incarceration. You are knowledgeable about and fluent in discussing and advancing both, and their relationship to community/public safety.

You are comfortable with the realities of applied research: limited (and often “dirty”) data and short timelines. It is our presumption that a PhD, or other graduate training plus extensive relevant experience, is required in order to credibly lead this research. 

You are skilled with a range of data tasks, from cleaning administrative database files to quantitative analysis, and you are comfortable making things work in a range of tools, such as SQL for databases, and R, Stata, SPSS, or Python for analysis. You are able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of administrative data. 

You love teaching—and learning. It is expected that you will share your technical expertise with Vera staff, and communicate the results of your work to practitioners. And that you will draw on the knowledge and technical capacity at Vera, as well as the practitioners you work with in the field. 

You bring the following skills and previous experience:

  • worked on a randomized control trial; 
  • designed both quantitative and qualitative research studies; 
  • driver’s license;
  • wrote for and presented to a general audience of academics, practitioners, and the public. 

Some areas of experience that are preferred, but are not required:

  • conducting research in partnership with community and using participatory action research as an approach
  • working directly with or for the juvenile or criminal justice system
  • conducting outcome evaluations
  • fluency in Spanish 

There is a strong preference for this position to be based in Vera’s New York City Office. 


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 $75,000 – 85,000. 

How to apply

Please submit cover letter and resume. Your cover letter should provide an overview of your work experience and why you want to work at Vera and should respond to the following questions:

  1. What makes you passionate about changing the criminal justice system and, specifically, the living and working conditions in jails and prisons?
  2. What work or student experience do you have working on randomized control trials or quasi-experimental designs?

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

Online submission in PDF format (through Vera’s careers page) is preferred. 

If necessary, materials can be faxed or mailed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / CYJ Senior Research Associate Recruitment

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 work, please visit

Apply for this Position
* Required fields
First name*
Last name*
Email address*
Location *
Phone number*

Attach resume as .pdf, .doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, or .rtf (limit 5MB) or paste resume

Paste your resume here or attach resume file

Desired salary*
In 150 characters or fewer, tell us what makes you unique. Try to be creative and say something that will catch our eye!*
Please attach a cover letter describing your interest in this position.*
The following questions are entirely optional.
To comply with government Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action reporting regulations, we are requesting (but NOT requiring) that you enter this personal data. This information will not be used in connection with any employment decisions, and will be used solely as permitted by state and federal law. Your voluntary cooperation would be appreciated. Learn more.

Invitation for Job Applicants to Self-Identify as a U.S. Veteran
  • A “disabled veteran” is one of the following:
    • a veteran of the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; or
    • a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.
  • A “recently separated veteran” means any veteran during the three-year period beginning on the date of such veteran's discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval, or air service.
  • An “active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran” means a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized under the laws administered by the Department of Defense.
  • An “Armed forces service medal veteran” means a veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985.
Veteran status

Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability
Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form CC-305
OMB Control Number 1250-0005
Expires 1/31/2020
Why are you being asked to complete this form?

Because we do business with the government, we must reach out to, hire, and provide equal opportunity to qualified people with disabilities.i To help us measure how well we are doing, we are asking you to tell us if you have a disability or if you ever had a disability. Completing this form is voluntary, but we hope that you will choose to fill it out. If you are applying for a job, any answer you give will be kept private and will not be used against you in any way.

If you already work for us, your answer will not be used against you in any way. Because a person may become disabled at any time, we are required to ask all of our employees to update their information every five years. You may voluntarily self-identify as having a disability on this form without fear of any punishment because you did not identify as having a disability earlier.

How do I know if I have a disability?

You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if you have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition.

Disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Schizophrenia
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair
  • Intellectual disability (previously called mental retardation)
Please check one of the boxes below:

YES, I HAVE A DISABILITY (or previously had a disability)

Your Name Today's Date
Reasonable Accommodation Notice

Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities. Please tell us if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for a job or to perform your job. Examples of reasonable accommodation include making a change to the application process or work procedures, providing documents in an alternate format, using a sign language interpreter, or using specialized equipment.

iSection 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. For more information about this form or the equal employment obligations of Federal contractors, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at

PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENT: According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. This survey should take about 5 minutes to complete.