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Summer Internship 2023 - Initiative Intern, Redefining Public Safety

Vera Institute of Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posted on Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Who we are:

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.

Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.

Who you are:

With a recognition that America’s investments and systems are inadequate to produce public safety, the goal of the Redefining Public Safety program is to advance a civilian public safety ecosystem that reduces the scope of policing while increasing safety. We leverage data to provide analyses and tools to community-led groups and government officials in their efforts to drive system changes, and we blueprint approaches that prioritize community needs and advance racial justice. We focus on areas where disparities exist, work to make enforcement data widely accessible, and uplift community-based solutions.

The Initiative Intern will assist the Redefining Public Safety (RPS) team with executing high-level strategies related to our program and research goals. With this dual focus, the Initiative Intern will gain considerable knowledge in the emerging best practices related to public safety and will gain expertise by developing a range of comprehensive approaches to safety. In particular, the Initiative Intern will contribute to final projects such as translating complex research and strategy materials into digestible formats. These include, but are not limited to, fact sheets and dashboard content. The Initiative Intern will provide capacity to our team as we develop data and program infrastructure and develop technical assistance products in our implementation sites.

With this dual focus, the Initiative Intern will gain considerable knowledge in the emerging best practices related to public safety and will gain expertise in a range of comprehensive approaches to safety.

What you'll do:

Assist RPS’ Associate Director in developing tools and products to advance RPS’ goals. This may include drafting fact sheets, presentations, and other materials.

  • Assist in the development of training materials for a wide variety of community and government partners.
  • Assist in development of strategy proposals for state-wide advocacy to facilitate civilian-led public safety ecosystem growth and sustainability.
  • Meet with stakeholders to gain relevant information for a landscape scan of existing public safety ecosystems and assist in developing toolkits that summarize public safety models in cities throughout the country

Conduct desk research on existing redefining public safety initiatives and the scope of each, their duration, funding amounts, documenting emerging best practices, and other information to inform RPS strategy and model development.

  • Research RPS Civilian Crisis Response toolkits, gun violence prevention landscape analysis, and other foundational analyses to provide informed perspectives on best practices for programmatic and system changes.

Assist RPS’ Associate Director of Research on producing or disseminating research, which may include contributing to public and partner-facing products or contributing to planning or analysis for community engaged research activities.

  • Translate research findings into fact sheets or blog posts (e.g., practical guidance on sustaining impactful offices of violence prevention and neighborhood safety)
  • Draft strategy memos on the role of performance measurement and management in equitable public safety
  • Contribute to planning or analysis for community engaged research activities (e.g., community input sessions on to gun violence intervention and prevention).

Collaborate with other RPS team members and colleagues at Vera in support of above activities.

What qualifications are we looking for?


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science or related field or a demonstrated commitment to advancing systems change through research or practice.


  • Master’s Degree in Public Policy or related field or experience in practice application of comprehensive approaches to safety.
  • Lived experience in the criminal legal system.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring:

  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Ability to translate technical information into easily digestible summaries
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial equity and inclusion

Technical knowledge we need you to be prepared to use:

  • Microsoft Office Suite


Please note this role will report to our Brooklyn, NY office. Vera interns and employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule. Full-time positions generally amount to 10 days per month. Part-time positions generally amount to 5 days per month.


The intern should be available to work up to 25 hours per week during the summer. The dates will be between June 5th and August 11th, with some flexibility to accommodate personal and academic schedules.


The compensation range for internships is $16.00 - $25.00 per hour. Actual compensation will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. Applicants may choose to receive academic credit. For those who need to earn academic credit, Vera will gladly assist in working with the school or program to make arrangements and meet requirements.

How to apply:

Please submit cover letter and resume. In your cover letter, please explain why you are passionate about criminal justice reform and what you hope to gain from this internship.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Initiative Intern, Redefining Public Safety
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
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.

In order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.

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, please visit www.vera.org