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Intern, Court Observation - Greater Justice New York(GJNY) - NYC

Court Observation Intern (Part time), GJNY

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. Vera is committed to securing equal justice, ending mass incarceration, and strengthening families and communities.

  • 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 people who are vulnerable, marginalized, and harmed by crime and violence. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We hire employees that reflect our values: respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, and race equity. If you want to learn more about life at Vera click here.

Greater Justice New York

The Greater Justice New York (GJNY) team was launched as an interdisciplinary effort to tackle the drivers of mass criminalization and mass incarceration in New York. New York State is a microcosm of the landscape of incarceration across our country—arrests and the number of people in jail in large, urban areas like New York City are declining while a quiet but significant incarceration boom is under way in more rural, less populated parts of the state. We use research, policy, and advocacy to shine a light on injustices in all areas of the state and in all aspects of the criminal system—from bail to sentencing, parole, fines and fees, and more—and drive change through piloting innovative solutions and providing technical assistance. Our vision is a leaner, fairer, and more effective justice system where incarceration is the last resort, not the default, across all 62 counties of New York State. Bai;

New York State recently passed a historic set of reforms to our existing bail laws that went into effect on January 1, 2020. These reforms have the potential to transform many aspects of the criminal system, especially the bail decisions made in the courts and the number of people in jail pretrial. An evaluation of the process in which the new bail laws are implemented in local practices and their impact on local communities are key to identifying next steps of the reform. We are in the process of starting an ambitious, three-year evaluation study of these reforms, with a focus on six counties outside of New York City. The goal of our project is to document how the new bail laws are implemented, to measure their impact on local communities, and to examine any challenges to successful implementation and unintended consequences that arise.

What you’ll do

The intern will work closely with the Greater Justice New York team on conducting systematic court observations of the Bail Reform Evaluation Project. Specific duties and responsibilities include the following:


Observing virtual arraignment court sessions online between February 2021 and May 2021 in one of the following counties:

  • Albany, Broome, Erie, Oneida, Tompkins, and Ulster


  • Taking thorough and accurate notes of court proceedings


  • Using a court observation tool, developed by Vera, to gather specific data points


  • Consistently entering collected data into an online questionnaire


  • Attending orientation training on court observation practices
  • Prior court watching experience preferred, but not required.


What qualifications you’ll need

  • Access to computer with reliable WIFI capabilities


  • Ability to observe virtual court sessions online in one of the listed counties


  • Ability to manage timely and accurate data collection throughout court observation process


  • Excellent note taking and organizational skills


  • Available to conduct court observations up to 20 hours per week from February 2021-May 2021



The intern should be available to work up to 20 hours per week during the fall semester, with the opportunity to continue working in the spring semester.



Compensation is commensurate with educational background and work or other experience Applicants may choose to receive academic credit for an internship/externship. 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 you cover letter, please explain why you are passionate about criminal justice reform and what you hope to gain from this internship.  Application review will start on January 4, 2021  and will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled.


Online submission in PDF format (through Vera’s careers page) is preferred. No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

If necessary, materials can be faxed or mailed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / Court Observation Intern

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.


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.

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