Program Associate, Restoring Promise Initiative, CYJ

Location: New York, NY

Department: Center on Youth Justice

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Mid Level

Please note that we will be moving our headquarters to Industry City in Brooklyn, NY next year.

Vera’s Center on Youth Justice (CYJ) seeks a passionate and motivated program associate to work on our Restoring Promise Initiative. Restoring Promise partners with prisons and jails across the country to radically transform conditions for incarcerated young adults ages 18-25 in adult facilities. Taking lessons from Germany, where corrections is grounded in a commitment to human dignity, Restoring Promise replaces the current, punishment-based model with one that prioritizes accountability, truth, healing, and hope. Our current sites include Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina.

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.

What we’re looking to do

Restoring Promise works with corrections agencies to design and implement transformational reforms to agency culture and conditions of confinement. We align policy and practice with lessons from domestic and international best practices and research, with a focus on family partnership and racial and ethnic equity. This approach is individualized to the jurisdiction we are working with and reform is done in partnership with people directly impacted by the prison system: the people that live and work in prisons.

Restoring Promise partners with the MILPA Collective across the initiative. MILPA is non-profit based in Salinas, California that works with formerly incarcerated people using healing-informed, relationship centered approaches to grow young people’s leadership and work towards racial justice.

The Position

Working closely with the Restoring Promise team and reporting to the team’s Project Director, 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:
    • conduct research on national and international program models;
    • assist with the development and implementation of new and innovative strategies to improve conditions of confinement for incarcerated young adults ages 18-25;
    • organize and facilitate site visits with our project partners;
  • 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 the project team;
  • Mentor interns and other team members;
  • Manage project deadlines.

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 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.

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 enjoy working both independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment.

You’re self-motivated, collaborative and can take initiative on a variety of task.

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;
  • BA in a social justice related field with 5-6 years of full time work experience; or a MA/ MSW/ MPH/ MPA with 2-3 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 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;
  • Experience with mixed methods and applied research – data analysis using statistical software such as SPSS or STATA and qualitative survey and interview development and administration;
  • Demonstrate fluency with data analysis (quantitative and qualitative) and support the development of sound, data-driven policies as a member of a multidisciplinary team;
  • Data management skills;
  • Bilingual English/ Spanish.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume. The cover letter should share your story about why you are passionate about making change for people in jails/prisons, and any other information about your expertise.

If necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / Restoring Promise, Program Associate

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.

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