Senior Research Associate, CYJ

Location: New York, NY

Department: Center on Youth and Justice

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Mid Level

Action Areas

Bringing Dignity to Life Behind Bars

Supporting Kids and Young Adults

Please note that our Manhattan office will be relocating to Industry City in Brooklyn, NY next year.

Vera is hiring a Senior Research Associate to join a diverse and growing team  and to manage a study examining the    impact of innovative young adult housing on reducing violence in prisons as part of the Restoring Promise initiative. The study is a randomized control trial that will begin this fall. The Senior Research Associate will be the key person managing the preparation, data collection, and analysis of this high-impact study. 

Restoring Promise partners with forward thinking corrections agencies in jails and prisons across the country to transform living conditions for incarcerated young adults (ages 18-25) and working conditions for staff. Two core values, rooted in the name, guide the initiative: 

  1. restoring calls for truth telling and healing, a process by which people most impacted by the justice system are partners in reform; and 
  2. promise acknowledges the failed promise to generations of young people, demands commitment to supporting them in realizing their full potential, and asks us to look forward toward a vision of transforming the prison system. 

Restoring Promise focuses on prison conditions and young adults for four important reasons: 

  1. Ending Mass Incarceration - Young adults are disproportionately represented at every stage in the justice system, driving mass incarceration. 
  2. Advancing Race Equity - The racial disparities that plague the justice system are more acute for young adults. 
  3. Eliminating Violence in Corrections – People under the age of 25 are the most at risk of violence in prison and have the highest rate of homicide in prison of any age group.  
  4. Ensuring Success - Young adults return to prison at higher rates compared to any other age group.  

Restoring Promise currently has three partnerships with departments of corrections: Connecticut, Middlesex County in Massachusetts, and South Carolina.

The Vera Institute of Justice

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.

We work with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime and violence. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Its projects and reform initiatives, typically conducted in partnership with local, state, or national officials, are located across the United States and around the world. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.

Violence in Prison Reduction Study 

This new study is the first effort to estimate the impact of the Restoring Promise approach, though it builds on qualitative collaborative research projects and process evaluations in our sites. Through this groundbreaking study, Vera will begin to build a body of evidence and help departments of corrections identify changes to their practices around human dignity that are rooted in data and evidence. 

Responsibilities

Reporting directly to the Center on Youth Justice Research Director, the Senior Research Associate will support the center’s research on young adults in jails and prisons, manage research activities for theRCT on reducing violence in prisons, and develop new research studies.

In particular, the Senior Research Associate will:

  • Manage a randomized control trial, in partnership with our partner department of corrections and in collaboration with project staff; 
  • Coordinate all field logistics and research efforts with all relevant stakeholders;
  • Manage data and collaborate effectively with state data systems and the partners who run them; 
  • Develop research designs, conduct and supervise analysis, and document methods and findings, for public consumption, as well as internal materials; 
  • Translate and present findings to diverse audiences 
  • Develop new research projects that explore the ways that innovative approaches to confinement affect the outcomes for people who live and work in prisons; and
  • Mentor and supervise research staff and review all of their project work.

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 are deeply committed to the missions of racial justice and ending mass incarceration. You are knowledgeable about and fluent in discussing and advancing both, and their relationship to community/public safety.

You are comfortable with the realities of applied research: limited (and often “dirty”) data and short timelines. It is our presumption that a PhD, or other graduate training plus extensive relevant experience, is required in order to credibly lead this research. 

You are skilled with a range of data tasks, from cleaning administrative database files to quantitative analysis, and you are comfortable making things work in a range of tools, such as SQL for databases, and R, Stata, SPSS, or Python for analysis. You are able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of administrative data. 

You love teaching—and learning. It is expected that you will share your technical expertise with Vera staff, and communicate the results of your work to practitioners. And that you will draw on the knowledge and technical capacity at Vera, as well as the practitioners you work with in the field. 

You bring the following skills and previous experience:

  • worked on a randomized control trial; 
  • designed both quantitative and qualitative research studies; 
  • driver’s license;
  • wrote for and presented to a general audience of academics, practitioners, and the public. 

Some areas of experience that are preferred, but are not required:

  • conducting research in partnership with community and using participatory action research as an approach
  • working directly with or for the juvenile or criminal justice system
  • conducting outcome evaluations
  • fluency in Spanish 

There is a strong preference for this position to be based in Vera’s New York City Office. 

Salary

Based on experience, and including excellent benefits, Vera believes in compensating its staff members at or above market. The salary range for this position is $75,000 – 85,000. 

How to apply

Please submit cover letter and resume. Your cover letter should provide an overview of your work experience and why you want to work at Vera and should respond to the following questions:

  1. What makes you passionate about changing the criminal justice system and, specifically, the living and working conditions in jails and prisons?
  2. What work or student experience do you have working on randomized control trials or quasi-experimental designs?

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

Online submission in PDF format (through Vera’s careers page) is preferred. 

If necessary, materials can be faxed or mailed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / CYJ Senior Research Associate 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, 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’s work, please visit www.vera.org.

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