Hiring partners are below, but we're here to help!

First, submit your resume to us directly so we can help make personal intros. We'll be able to vouch for your candidacy and can encourage partners to review your profile! From there, share this with any mission-driven job-seekers in your network; we'd be glad to support them, too.

Senior Program Associate, Beyond Jails Initiative

Vera Institute of Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

Brooklyn, NY, USA · Washington, DC, USA · Los Angeles, CA, USA · New Orleans, LA, USA
Posted on Saturday, May 4, 2024

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:

The Senior Program Associate (SPA) will report to the Associate Director of Advocacy and Policy. The SPA will help implement the Beyond Jails Initiative’s statewide advocacy agenda in priority states, as well as support Vera’s place-based initiatives. Additionally, the Senior Program Associate will support the Advocacy Manager in monitoring proposed changes to pretrial practices in all 50 states and engage in defensive measures in coalition with allies in specific jurisdictions as needed and upon approval of the Beyond Jails Initiative Director.

What you'll do:

Priority State Advocacy

  • Support the implementation of the annual advocacy plan for each priority state
  • Collaborate with the team to design and assist with implementation of local policy changes that can be scaled to a statewide policy change or law
  • Work with the Beyond Jails Initiative team to develop model policies, fact sheets, and educational materials on pre-trial reform to be used within Vera and with external partners.
  • Assist in drafting policies and legislation, and provide training and technical assistance for site based pre-trial reform efforts
  • Develop and expand Vera’s expertise on pre-trail reform by researching and contributing to publications, connecting with other experts in the field, and engaging in national discussions (subject to prior approval by the Associate Director of Advocacy and Policy)
  • Research jurisdiction-specific practices, constitutional and statutory bail provisions, and pretrial practices

Advocacy Outside of the Beyond Jails Initiative's Priority States

  • Support Vera’s place-based initiatives in pretrial and bail reform advocacy efforts
  • Provide one-off legislative support, research, or testimony in support of existing coalitions or allied organizations
  • Educate and advocate directly with government officials and their staff

Community Outreach & Partnerships

  • Develop and maintain relationships with government actors, elected officials, community groups, and legal practitioners
  • Help drive the creation of a coordinated, large-scale communications and campaign strategy to deploy in both jurisdictions where we are engaging in site-based work and nationally
  • Represent the BJI’s interests in issue-based coalitions

Staff Supervision

  • Manage intern(s) and assist in their onboarding to the initiative

Other Job Duties as Assigned

What qualifications are we looking for?

Bachelor’s degree + 4 years of relevant experience. In lieu of degree requirement, applicable work or life experience may be considered.

Preferred education and/or experience

  • Experience in leading and / or supporting grassroots and / or legislative advocacy campaigns
  • Demonstrated experience with the criminal legal system, criminal court practices, and bail / pretrial justice policy
  • Experience working in state legislatures
  • 3 years of policy and advocacy experience in the criminal legal system reform space, building coalitions, allies, and strategy

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring:

  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Ability to use Microsoft Office Suite, Zoom, Slack and cloud-based project management programs
  • Ability to travel up to 25% of the time
  • Driver’s License, preferred


Please note this role will report to our Brooklyn, NY, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, LA, or Los Angeles, CA, office. Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule that generally amounts to 10 days per month.

Compensation and Benefits:

The compensation range for this position is $93,000 - $98,000. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff - both personally and professionally - is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Senior Program Associate, Beyond Jails Initiative
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.