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NY - Research Associate, CSC, Justice Fines and Fees, Vera Institute

  • 1.  NY - Research Associate, CSC, Justice Fines and Fees, Vera Institute

    Posted 05-14-2019 11:27 AM
    Edited by Lauren Cummings 05-14-2019 11:27 AM

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

    At the Vera Institute of Justice, our vision is a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all. Vera's Center on Sentencing and Corrections is seeking a passionate and determined individual to join a brand-new project, funded by Arnold Ventures and in partnership with the State Priorities Partnership, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Fines and Fees Justice Center, designed to uncover the true costs of criminal justice system fines and fees. The use of these costs causes long-lasting harm for the individuals-often poor people of color-trapped within cycles of debt and criminal justice involvement. Yet local and state governments have become more reliant on these revenues and less inclined to adequately and fairly finance the justice system through other means. In 2017, Vera exposed the true costs and consequences of fines and fees in New Orleans in our report Past Due. Now, this project will expand that approach to five states and reveal how much revenue fines and fees bring in, who benefits, and how these practices can be eliminated or substantially reduced. This research will provide crucial support for new advocacy campaigns to reform fines and fees and replace them with sustainable revenues.


    What you'll be working on

    Reporting to the project manager, the Research Associate will conduct budgetary research and analysis to uncover the amount of revenue criminal justice fines and fees bring in, which agencies most benefit, and how they can be replaced with more sustainable revenue sources.

    In particular, the Research Associate will:

    • Collect budget data from every county in each of the five target states. Manage the success of the budget analysis including assuming responsibility for accuracy and comprehensiveness and fully understanding the policy and budgetary environment in which fines and fees are collected.
    • Work as part of a team to develop creative ways to research the issue of fines and fees, collect budget data, and present findings to a general audience. Proactively seek to educate Vera staff and partners about new research in the fines and fees field. Research and write reports, memoranda, and briefs related to fines and fees.
    • Conduct court observations and stakeholder interviews to support the primary findings from the budgetary analysis.
    • Participate in collaborative planning with Vera staff and partner organizations.
    • Plan convenings and trainings for partner organizations.  

    About you

    You have experience with the collection, cleaning, analysis, and visualization, of government budgetary and fiscal data. Any experience directly working with government agencies to understand their data is a plus.

    You are passionate about data, and meticulous about accuracy. This project will involve reviewing and analyzing hundreds of county budgets and you are highly organized and structured in your approach to data collection. You take responsibility for the quality of your work.

    You are curious, ask good questions, and take the initiative to proactively seek your own answers.

    You are fluent in using Excel and have experience conducting web and/or pdf scraping. You have a passion for making dense datasets understandable to a general audience, including through data visualizations.

    You have the ability to work under time pressure and other stresses that make collegiality of critical importance.

    You possess strong interpersonal and communications skills and enjoy working with people of diverse experiences and backgrounds.

    You have a strong interest in, and knowledge of, the most pressing injustices of our day such as the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, the economic impact of fines and fees, and racial disparities within the criminal justice system.

    You have a graduate degree in criminal justice, criminology, public policy, sociology, social work, economics, or other related/relevant field or a college degree with relevant professional experience.


    Commensurate with experience and excellent benefits.



    This is a full time position preferably based in New York City. Please note that Vera headquarters, currently in Manhattan, will be relocating to Industry City in Brooklyn in 2019. We will consider preferences for basing the position in Vera's Washington, D.C. office.


    How to Apply

    Please submit a cover letter and resume. Your cover letter should explain why you are interested in this job, the skills you have, and why you would be a good fit for the position. Candidates will be considered on a rolling basis until position is filled.  Online submission of materials in PDF format is preferred.


    However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:

    ATTN: Human Resources / CIJ Program Analyst 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 candidates 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 regarding educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.

    For more information please visit us at www.vera.org