The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), a nonpartisan, nonprofit center for justice practice, policy and research seeks an accomplished, high-energy individual with a passion for justice, particularly its racial and ethnic dimensions, to lead its Center on Sentencing and Corrections (CSC). This is an opportunity to lead and shape a major business unit of a nationally respected impact organization in its efforts to use data, knowledge, policy analysis and creativity to reduce unnecessary incarceration in the United States.
The ideal candidate will have a vision for how an organization with Vera's attributes can advance pragmatic reform in an area of profound challenge, but significant opportunity. She or he will have experience, a strong reputation, and contacts in government and the justice reform field. She or he should be a persuasive and adept communicator with high-level government leaders, partners in philanthropy, the non-profit sector, media and academia. The job calls for a deep understanding of policy change and strategic acumen. It requires the management capacity and discipline to oversee multiple projects simultaneously and the temperament, skills, and inclination to work in effective and energetic collaboration with colleagues inside and outside of Vera.
The Vera Institute of Justice & the Center on Sentencing and Corrections
Vera, founded in 1961 in response to concerns about unnecessary detention of the poor in New York City's jails, brings expertise in system change, commitment to research and evidence, and a capacity for innovation to its mission to promote justice and fairness and improve lives. Vera is particularly committed to solving problems where race and ethnicity are crucial factors. Through hypothesis-testing demonstration projects, academic-level research, technical assistance, and policy guidance, Vera works closely with national, state, and local leaders to identify and inform new policy choices and fill gaps in the provision of services. Vera also advances ideas and debate through a variety of media and communications tools. Vera works in New York City, across the country, and internationally. It has four interdisciplinary substantive centers (Immigration and Justice, Youth Justice, and Victimization and Safety, in addition to CSC) and other, smaller programs.
CSC is Vera's principal operational unit devoted to safely and effectively reducing over-incarceration and ameliorating its negative consequences, in facilities and in the community. It pursues that vision through a number of tools:
- Providing research, policy analysis, and technical support and advice to government leaders seeking to improve their jurisdiction’s sentencing and corrections policies and practices;
- Producing research that provides insight into the effectiveness of policy and practice and informs changes designed to produce better outcomes;
- Mounting demonstration projects that have both local impact and inform national policy and debate;
- Publications and other communications tools that introduce new ideas and shed new light on sentencing and corrections policy and its impact.
Currently, CSC has a number of major efforts underway that encompass state-level sentencing reform, narrowing the net of criminal justice contact and incarceration in local justice systems, improving conditions of confinement and services to people incarcerated, and reducing the overuse of isolation in correctional settings. CSC has 30 staff members working in New York, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans.
Responsibilities & Qualifications
The Institute seeks a committed, dynamic, and persuasive leader to guide and shape CSC's future direction while also managing its current portfolio of work. The director serves a primary role in developing a strategic vision for CSC, identifying areas of substantive focus, securing private and public resources to support work in those areas, and supervising and engaging in execution of that work. The director is also accountable for leading and overseeing the delivery of technical assistance to state, local and national leaders; generating demonstration ideas; helping to build CSC's basic and applied research capacity; and supporting the overall strategic goals of the Institute. As the leader of a diverse and dynamic staff, working from several locations around the country, the director is also responsible for creating a cohesive team committed to justice and the highest quality of work.
Reporting to the Vice President and Chief Program Officer, the director is responsible for:
- Leading the strategic assessment of how Vera can achieve the greatest impact in reducing unnecessary incarceration and minimizing its negative impacts and consequences.
- Managing the substance and delivery of CSC's current portfolio of work, ensuring that ongoing technical assistance and applied-research projects develop or meet clearly articulated strategic goals and performance measures and that their impact is understood and communicated.
- Identifying, developing and maintaining relationships with private and governmental funders.
- Establishing and encouraging a cohesive, creative and open culture in CSC, geared toward building a strong sense of a team that is committed to high-quality work and that deepens and builds staff knowledge and skills.
- Working closely with CSC's research director and staff and Vera's Director of Research to shape, develop, implement and encourage research projects to support CSC's goals and work.
- Strengthening and promoting, with the help of Vera's communications department and DC office, Vera's profile in sentencing and corrections among policymakers, practitioners, academics, advocates, the media and other interested parties by establishing CSC as an expert resource.
- Creating, monitoring and maintaining program budgets and workplans, authorizing program expenditures, and ensuring that activities within the center are appropriately staffed and that funding is expended in accordance with good budgeting and fiscal practices.
- A commitment to advancing social justice;
- At least ten years' work experience in government, criminal and social justice, public policy or related fields;
- A demonstrated track record of securing financial support from private and public sources or a strong willingness and capacity to engage in fund raising;
- Strong managerial and leadership attributes, including a commitment to fostering an engaged and dynamic workplace and the ability to manage work on multiple projects effectively, efficiently and in a fast-moving environment
- A demonstrated ability to develop and implement policy and research solutions within practical and politically accountable contexts;
- Superb interpersonal and communication skills, strong oral and written communications abilities, and a sense of humor;
- Experience creating and supervising budgets and negotiating contracts;
- Willingness to travel frequently.
Please submit cover letter and resume. Online submission in PDF format is preferred.
However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to
ATTN: Human Resources / CSC Director 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, or citizenship status. To do our work most effectively, Vera needs a staff with diversity in all of these categories, as well as in political beliefs, field of study, type of educational institution attended, and experience with the justice system. We are proud to have assembled a staff that collectively embodies all these differences.
For more information about Vera, visit our website at www.vera.org