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Research Associate, Greater Justice New York (GJNY) - NYC/Remote

Please note that our New York office will be relocating to Industry City in Brooklyn starting from September.


Who we are

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 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. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace—specifically, we value diverse experiences with regard to educational background and justice system contact. We hire employees that reflect our values: respect, independence, collaboration, and commitment. 


Greater Justice New York

We are looking for a researcher to join our Greater Justice New York (GJNY) team. GJNY 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.


What you’ll be working on  

New York State recently passed a historic set of reforms to our existing bail laws that go 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 hiring a qualitative researcher to play a key role in 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, measure their impact on local communities, and examine any challenges to successful implementation and unintended consequences that arise.


Who you are

You are passionate about social and racial justice, motivated to drive change, and unafraid to challenge the status quo. You are enthusiastic, collaborative, curious, and kind. You have excellent chops in qualitative research and are willing to be nimble and work across multiple projects, often at the same time. The idea of working on a team of people who come from diverse backgrounds and perspectives inspires you. You either know New York State (and not just New York City) well, or you are truly excited to get to know all corners of our state. You care deeply about racial equity—in your research, your work, with your colleagues, and around the office.


In this role, you will:

  • Work collaboratively with GJNY staff to lead and conduct qualitative research, including court observations, focus groups, and interviews;
  • Develop and manage research engagements with local justice system agencies, community members, and people who are directly impacted by the criminal system;
  • Conduct analysis and write methods and findings for reports, stakeholders, advocates, and the public;
  • Write a range of documents, including research reports, policy/research briefs, and proposals;
  • Assist in the development of new research projects and research design that address GJNY’s areas of strategic focus and that advance our research agenda;
  • Recruit, supervise, and mentor additional research staff to support this work; and
  • Assist in other GJNY projects and tasks.


What qualifications do you need?

  • PhD or Masters degree (with 3+ years of relevant work experience) in social science, including but not limited to sociology, criminal justice, history, criminology, or public policy;
  • Experience in qualitative research, including designing and conducting interviews, focus groups, and observations;
  • Experience with qualitative analytic software, including NVivo, ATALS.ti, and Dedoose;
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Ability to be flexible, multi-task, prioritize, and manage multiple activities in a fast-paced environment;
  • Interest in working with program and research staff in Vera’s strongly collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment;
  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse array of people and positions, including advocates, government officials, criminal justice system personnel, practitioners, and people who are directly impacted by the criminal system; 
  • Interest and excitement to travel frequently outside of New York City;


The Nitty - Gritty

  • The preferred location for this position is New York, but candidates based in remote locations will be considered. 
  • Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.
  • People with diverse backgrounds, including those with lived experience, are encouraged to apply.


When you join our team

  • You can expect to work with a team of amazing people who have tenacity, are creative, scrappy, and are committed to getting the work done. Why? Because our work is urgent, impactful, and more important than ever.
  • You can count on doing solutions-oriented and policy-driven research that is innovative and fulfilling. We ask difficult questions and entertain unconventional answers so we can reckon with the uncomfortable truths of our work.
  • You will have a gym membership you can’t turn down, great benefits, and work-life balance. Driving meaningful change is hard work. But we also know that you have a life, places to go, and people to see.


How to apply

Please submit cover letter, writing sample and resume. 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 / GJNY Research Associate

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.


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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