Program Associate(s), Reforming the User-funded Justice System (Bail and Conviction fees) and other New Orleans office initiatives, New Orleans, LA

Location: New Orleans, LA

Department: New Orleans

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Mid Level

Scoping the Problem


The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that combines expertise in research, technical assistance, and demonstration projects to assist leaders in government and civil society examine justice policy and practice, and improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.

Vera’s New Orleans office works with government, residents, and local organizations as a center driving improvement to New Orleans’s criminal justice system. The office’s staff provide policy and data analysis, strategic and innovative project design, and implementation leadership with our partners. All in support of advancing practices that achieve equity, dignity, and effectiveness in the administration of justice. We have historically focused on the system drivers that lead to the over-use of local incarceration. Vera began its work in New Orleans in 2006 and opened the New Orleans office in 2008.

The New Orleans office seeks one or two mid-level professionals to join our team in the following two ways:

Position 1. Support our work to eliminate the two main aspects of the user-funded justice system—money bail and conviction fees—and to develop and implement an alternative model for funding the system’s agencies.

Position 2. Support the New Orleans office’s ongoing and future work to reduce the over-use of jail incarceration and improve racial equity in the justice system.

Both positions will involve deep substantive exploration, strategic planning, engaging leaders in city government and the system’s agencies, and working in partnerships with local organizations committed to justice reform. An offer will be made at the levels of program associate, program associate 2, or senior program associate depending on the candidates’ experience and qualifications.


The Associate’s duties for Position 1 (reforming the user-funded justice system) include the following:

  • Become expert in the substance of the practice, law, and effects of the user-funded justice system (money bail and conviction fees) in New Orleans;
  • Become expert in the history of the user-funded justice system and the recent development of good practice models in other jurisdictions through litigation, legislation, court rule-making, including the role of community advocacy for change;
  • Craft strategic approaches to formulating and implementing the transformation of the system away from money bail and conviction fees and the replacement of the lost revenues with stable direct funding;
  • Contribute to media and community education efforts to ensure the importance of this work to the city is understood and supported;
  • Develop excellent working relationships with our government and community partners;
  • Be a genuine, respectful, and supportive member of the team and of the New Orleans office as a whole; and
  • Invest in making the work we do each day lead to meaningful and sustainable justice system improvement for the people of New Orleans.

 The Associate’s duties for the Position 2 (the New Orleans office position) include the following:

  • Become expert in the substance of the work of the office to attack the drivers of excess jail incarceration and the methods used to achieve success;
  • Craft strategic approaches to formulating and implementing new approaches to achieving more just and effectiveness policies and practices;
  • Develop excellent working relationships with our government and community partners;
  • Be a genuine, respectful, and supportive member of the New Orleans office; and
  • Invest in making the work we do each day lead to meaningful and sustainable justice system improvement for the people of New Orleans.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for these positions will have the following personal and professional qualities:

  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice for underserved populations and close experience with criminal justice-involved individuals;
  • Three to five years of experience in criminal justice or a relevant field;
  • Experience and comfort with social science and legal research (familiarity with quantitative analysis a plus);
  • Direct knowledge about the New Orleans criminal justice system and, for the first position, the bail system and other key aspects of user-funding;
  • Experience and demonstrated skill undertaking a significant role in complex projects;
  • Comfort with and interest in a broad range of community engagement approaches;
  • An ability to perform and collaborate well under direction as well as an ability to work independently toward the project’s goals;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and an ability to articulate a concept and vision in a way that is compelling to team members, government and community partners, and others; and
  • Professional and personal integrity, honesty, and self-awareness.

This is a full-time position based in New Orleans.


Please submit cover letter and resume. Indicate if you are applying for the “user-funded justice system” position or the “New Orleans office” position, or both, and indicate your preference, if you have one.

Online submission in PDF format is preferred. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until position is filled.

If necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to

ATTN: NOLA Program Recruitment

Vera Institute of Justice

1307 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, Suite 203

New Orleans, LA 70113

Fax: (504) 312-4517

Please use only one method of submission (online, mail, or fax).

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, 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 and the New Orleans office, please visit



The New Dynamics of Mass Incarceration

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