Research Associate, Ending Girls Incarceration (any location)

Brooklyn, NY
Full Time
Ending Girls Incarceration
Mid Level

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.

Vera’s EGI initiative is working to end incarceration of girls nationwide by 2030. Every day across the United States, girls—particularly Black, Native American and Latinx girls and gender expansive youth— are arrested and incarcerated due to circumstances rooted in their experiences of violence, trauma, and discrimination that have gone overlooked and unaddressed by the systems and communities they are meant to rely on for protection and support.  In 5 years, we aim to end incarceration in California, the largest incarcerating state for girls, and get New York and Florida to make policy changes and programmatic investments to reduce and end girls’ incarceration. During this time, we will sustain change in Hawaii, New York City, Santa Clara and Maine to ensure that the progress made in getting to zero to date holds strong and they continue to serve as proof points for change.

We partner with advocates, impacted youth, and government to:

  • build a peer network in California to build skills for practice and policy change, and generate and share solutions to end girls’ incarceration;
  • track progress and assess solutions, building an evidence base andshowing that getting to zero is possible; and
  • engage in advocacy campaigns to secure investment in needed programming and create lasting policy change at the state and local level in California, expanding to New York and Florida, and leveraging policy to sustain the gains in our current sites.

We will center Race Equity and Inclusion in our work by focusing on equity in our team, in our partnerships, and by focusing on solutions and tracking the progress of reducing girls’ incarceration for BIPOC youth. 

Who you are:

Working on this team, the Research Associate will work on our mixed methods evaluation of an innovative gender responsive diversion program, and our several youth-engaged research projects in collaboration with EGI partners, including young people directly impacted by the system and those who work closely with them. The incumbent will also serve as a prime researcher on our study of juvenile electronic monitoring (JEM), working on public records act (PRA) requests for admin data, interviews and other primary data collection from judges and other policy actors and people who are impacted by these policies and their changes, including the elimination of fees. The successful candidate will work closely with partners from Berkeley University and Young Women’s Freedom Center on literature reviews, qualitative data collection and collaborative analysis.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Data collection, management, and analysis:

  • Conduct mostly qualitative data collection (qualitative interviews, focus groups, observation, text analysis; surveys; quantitative instruments, etc) in consultation with senior research staff
  •  Partner with research and program teams to complete in-person, on-site data collection as well as virtual data collection, depending on the project
  • Lead and develop discrete (qualitative) analyses as components of broader, mixed methods projects
  • Manage qualitative datasets, including raw transcripts, video recordings, and notes from interviews and focus groups
  • Strictly follow data security protocol and precautions with regard to human subjects research 
  • Complete the metadata (codes, labels, definitions) for all datasets 
  • Prepare data for merging and analysis with quantitative data, where appropriate 
  • Systematically code segments of data items and overall data sets 
  • Iteratively develop and evaluate codes in the context of the data and prepare for extraction beyond the context of original data items 
  • Engage research team and stakeholders in understanding latent and surface meanings, patterns, themes, relationships, and learning from preliminary findings 
  • Routinely report internally on research progress 
  • Write memos and other documentation of coding and analysis process 
  • Document protocol feedback and maintain information for future data collection, storage and analysis based on experiences of different kinds of data and trial of a variety of qualitative and mixed methods 

Write up/presentation of research:

  • Prepare background research and structured literature reviews
  • Draft and advise on research memos for a broad audience including stakeholders with different backgrounds and perspectives 
  • Collate and organize findings into tables and other illustrations to be integrated into co-authored public-facing reports, advocacy documents, or other publications under the supervision of senior researchers
  • Co-present research approach and findings with EGI staff and stakeholders at department meetings, “brown bag” discussions, and other internal external events as desired
  • Present at academic and policy-focused conferences and professional meetings as desired

Research administration, ethical review, and security

  • Contribute to the preparation and/or presentation of projects for IRB review in collaboration and with support from program, research and operations team
  • Lead and/or support the recruitment of research subjects as needed
  • Track, organize, and maintain files of consent forms, participant contracts, incentives, and documentation of participation
  • Maintain participant and partner contact information

Fundraising/proposal development:

  • Provide input to senior staff in drafting sections of research proposals
  • Contribute to the drafting and editing of reports and presentations to funders and related stakeholders

Supervision and mentoring:

  • (Co-)supervise and mentor research assistants, analysts, and/or interns on tasks as needed
  • Offer and exchange mentoring relationships within and beyond project team

What qualifications do you need?


  • Bachelors degree + 3-5 years of relevant experience.  In lieu of a Bachelors degree, applicable work or life experience may be considered.
  • Demonstrated commitment to race equity.
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Mixed methods approaches
  • Mental flexibility and social adaptability
  • Advanced logic and critical thinking
  • General numeracy and quantitative reasoning
  • Close attention to detail


  • Facilitation, leadership, and project management skills are strongly desired. Personal experience and insight from being impacted by criminal legal or immigration systems is a plus.

Additional eligibility requirements:

  • Current driver’s license is helpful

List of Required Software Applications:

  • Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, or other online data collection platforms
  • Dedoose, Nvivo, MaxQDA, Delve, or other qualitative analysis software
  • Basic/elementary knowledge of SPSS, Stata, R, or other statistical analysis package(s)
  • Excel and other MS Office applications
  • Any project management tools

Compensation and Benefits

The compensation range for this position is $71,900 – $74,100. 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 and remote work schedules. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Research Associate, Research, Ending Girls Incarceration
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.

As a federal contractor, and 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


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