Research Associate

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Job location
233 Broadway
12th Floor
New York, NY 10279
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Vera Institute of Justice
Job type: 
Policy Development/Advocacy
Position Description: 

The Vera Institute of Justice is a research and policy organization that combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, and 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.

The Center on Sentencing and Corrections (CSC) is a group of dynamic and diverse staff who share a passion for social justice and a commitment to excellence in all of our work. CSC has a staff of 26 located in all four of Vera’s offices, who encompass expertise in the law, corrections, social science research, cost benefit analysis, family engagement, reentry, education, and other topics. They work in nearly a dozen active projects spanning sentencing and correctional policy and practice reform, including projects focused on jail and pre-trial reform, reductions in prison and jail populations, expanding access to higher education during incarceration, reentry and public housing, reducing solitary confinement and restrictive housing in correctional facilities, justice reinvestment, and international comparative prison practices.

CSC is currently seeking a new Research Associate to work on its Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative. Through this work, Vera conducts action research in partnership with departments of corrections with the goal of reducing the use of restrictive housing. Vera is currently completing work in five jurisdictions including Nebraska and North Carolina, and will be partnering with five new jurisdictions later this year. Working closely with program staff and other researchers, the Research Associate will visit corrections facilities and analyze administrative data to understand how restrictive housing is being used in state and local corrections systems, and help develop concrete steps for reform. Candidates should have strong quantitative and qualitative research skills and, ideally, experience and expertise in researching issues surrounding prisons and jails. Experience of work relating to the use of restrictive housing is particularly desirable.

The successful candidate will be given opportunities to engage in a variety of other projects that reflect CSC’s mission to end the overuse of incarceration and to improve the conditions of confinement for those in custody. The Research Associate will be involved in all steps of the research process, from proposal development to conducting fieldwork, analyzing data, presenting findings to government partners and other audiences, and to publishing reports and articles. The Research Associate will have opportunities to strengthen and broaden their substantive knowledge of the criminal justice and allied fields, reflecting CSC’s diverse portfolio of projects.

Principal responsibilities will include:

•Merge, manage, and analyze large administrative databases using SQL and statistical software such as STATA, R, or SPSS;
•Conduct descriptive and multivariate data analysis;
•Draft data collection instruments and conduct field interviews and focus groups (e.g., in prison facilities and public housing developments);
•Develop new research ideas and written proposals;
•Write policy/research briefs, technical research reports, and other publications;
•Present findings of research, evaluation, and policy analysis to diverse audiences;
•Write and present IRB submissions for research involving human subjects; and
•Assist on other projects and tasks as assigned.


Candidates must possess the following qualifications:

•At least 3 years of relevant work experience in an applied research setting, ideally with (or working towards) a PhD in criminal justice research or a related field.
•Excellent strategic, problem-solving, and analytic skills;
•Programming skills with statistical software (e.g., STATA, R, or SPSS), required. Experience with SQL preferred;
•Experience with qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis;
•Ability to work on multiple projects effectively and efficiently, both independently and collaboratively with a team;
•Solid oral and written communication skills;
•Strong interest in, and knowledge of, social justice for underserved populations; and
•Willingness to travel.

To apply: 

Please submit a cover letter, résumé and writing sample (an essay or report on which you were the primary or sole author). Online submission in PDF format is preferred. Internal candidates should submit their cover letter and resume to HR.

However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to
ATTN: Human Resources / CSC Research Associate recruitment
Vera Institute of Justice
233 Broadway, 12th Flr.
New York, NY 10279
Fax: (212) 941-9407

Please use only one method of submission (online, mail or fax).
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
Salary range: 
Commensurate with experience; includes excellent benefits.