Director, Criminal Justice Reform Program
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)
Primary domain: Advocacy/Social Action
Postal code: 07102
State: New Jersey
Country: United States
$3M - $10M
Established in 1999 by Alan V. and Amy Lowenstein, the Institute’s cutting-edge racial and social justice advocacy seeks to empower people of color by building reparative systems that create wealth, transform justice and harness democratic power—from the ground up—in New Jersey.
Known for our dynamic and independent advocacy aimed at toppling load-bearing walls of structural inequality to create just, vibrant and healthy communities, we are committed to exposing and repairing the cracks of structural racism in our foundation that erupt into earthquakes in communities of color.
The Institute advocates for systemic reform that is at once transformative, achievable in the state and replicable in communities across the nation.
Established 21 years ago by Alan V. and Amy Lowenstein, the Institute undertakes dynamic and independent advocacy aimed at toppling load-bearing walls of structural racial inequality to create just, vibrant, and healthy urban communities of color.
The Institute employs a broad range of advocacy tools to advance our ambitious racial and social justice agenda, including research, analysis and writing, public education, grassroots organizing, communications, the development of pilot programs, legislative strategies and litigation.
As was the case at our founding, this moment calls for racial and social justice advocacy inspired by the fierce urgency of now. Over the past few months, protests have taken place across the nation in response to the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many others whose names we do not know. The time is now for not only meaningful police reform, but to also evaluate how we can transform public safety and stem the flow of individuals into the front-ends of the youth justice and adult justice systems.
To answer this mighty charge, the Institute advocates for unapologetically progressive and reparative systems that build wealth in urban communities, transform youth justice and build democratic power.
Using a holistic approach to address the unique and critical issues facing New Jersey's urban communities of color, the Institute advocates for systemic reform that is at once transformative, achievable in the state, and replicable in communities across the nation.
The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (the "Institute") is looking for a sophisticated, creative and dynamic team player to serve as our Director of Criminal Justice Reform to manage and implement a program of strategic legal and policy advocacy to expand racial and social justice in New Jersey.
This is an exciting opportunity, at a critical time in our history, to advance racial and social justice on behalf of New Jersey's urban communities through the Institute's Criminal Justice Reform Program. In this program, the Institute works to end criminal justice policies that result in the criminalization of communities of color, racial injustice, and mass incarceration. The Institute's Criminal Justice Reform Initiative is centered around two issues: (1) reimagining policing and public safety in New Jersey and (2) transforming New Jersey's broken youth justice system through the 150 Years is Enough youth justice campaign.
The Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Program will report to the Institute's Law & Policy Director. The position, housed in Newark, New Jersey, will require travel throughout the state and occasional travel to national conferences, seminars, and events. The position may also require some speaking engagements outside of normal office hours (including on the weekend).
Roles and Responsibilities
The Director of the Criminal Justice Program, working with the CEO and reporting directly to the Law & Policy Director, is responsible for coordinating a program staff based in Newark (though presently working remotely) that includes an associate counsel, the 150 Years is Enough Campaign manager, and legal interns.
The responsibilities of the Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Program include but are not limited to the following:
- Work in partnership with the Law & Policy Director to (1) implement and manage the Institute's strategic vision for criminal justice programs, (2) cast a creative vision for criminal justice reform in New Jersey, (3) set goals for the Program, (4) monitor progress, and (5) evaluate outcomes to ensure that objectives are met and in line with the needs and mission of the organization.
- Develop new and creative strategies and approaches to both engage with the work of the Independent Monitoring Team overseeing reforms to the Newark Police Division (of which the Institute is a member) and to inform the development of a campaign to advance community-based solutions to public safety concerns.
- Collaborate with the 150 Years is Enough Campaign manager in developing the strategy, timeline, and deliverables for the 150 Years is Enough Campaign, which aims to close New Jersey's three youth prisons and invest in the creation of a community-based system of care.
- Help execute programmatic functions, and supervise and monitor implementation of the Institute's strategic vision for criminal justice reform programs--including the integration of advocacy, legislative initiatives, policy goals, public education, targeted campaigns, and, if necessary, litigation.
- Act as a public spokesperson for the Institute on racial and socail justice issues, engage in public speaking, and participate in public education activities to articulate the Institute's views on a broad range of racial and social justice issues to the public and various stakeholder constituencies.
- Build strategic alliances with organizations and individual to advance the Institute's mission, engage on shared priorities, and exchange knowledge and information in support of the Institute's programs and initiatives.
- Coordinate with the Chief Operating Officer and staff team to develop and stay abreast of criminal justice operations, planning, budget, spending, and funder compliance.
- Collaborate and coordinate with the Director of Development to advance the Institute's fundraising priorities.
- Write and edit legal and policy briefs, as well as program descriptions, in furtherance of program goals and funder communications.
- Form and maintain relationships with Institute partners, including other legal service agencies, law firms, the cooperating attorney network, law students, community-based organizations, policy institutions, et al.
- Assist the Law & Policy Director and others on the senior management team in fostering internal collaboration, creating professional growth opportunities at the Institute, and promoting a work environment that encourages independent judgment and values self-starters.
- Work with the Director of Communications to integrate policy and legal advocacy with communications, including through public education materials, policy reports, white papers, talking points, op-eds, and press releases.
- Work with the Director of Community Engagement to incorporate community outreach and field organizing into program campaigns.
- Supervise Program staff, including attorneys.
- Help plan and monitor the Program's budget.
- Develop and manage special projects and initiatives, including litigation, when appropriate.
- Act as a thought partner and collaborative teammate with other Institute staff and model values of an inclusive and respectful workplace, fostering the same in the staff.
The Institute is seeking an ambitious and dedicated Director, with experience challenging systemic racial discrimination through advocacy, to lead the Criminal Justice Reform Program. The successful candidate will have a strong track record in leadership and driving a vision within a complex and multi-faceted program. An ideal candidate will have personal experience in organizing and coalition building, as well as a track record of strategic development of long-term policy plans. Ideal candidates will be self-starters, be able to develop and advance bold visions and strategies, and be excellent managers of their time in what can be a high-intensity setting.
This position requires the highest integrity, sound judgment, and strong communication skills. Given the interconnected nature of the Institute's work, an ideal candidate must also be able to effectively work in a highly-collaborative team environment.
The successful candidate will also have the following:
- A J.D. is preferred. A minimum of seven years of experience is strongly preferred. Candidates with more experience are encouraged to apply.
- Significant racial justice and racial discrimination advocacy.
- Ideal candidates will have significant racial justice experience, either through personal connection and history or through work experience, with people harmed by structural racial discrimination.
- An ability to develop and implement multi-faceted campaigns that include litigation, public education, advocacy, and media outreach.
- Ability to work effectively with diverse coalitions and community groups, particularly of color and to work across political ideology, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic circumstances, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.
- Passion for, and knowledge of racial and social justice, and a familiarity with the work and mission of the Institute.
- Experience supervising staff and leading teams.
- Ability to listen, coach, shepherd, and support people to achieve shared goals.
- Excellent research and writing skills; superior attention to detail; ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously; good problem-solving skills; and a positive, professional attitude with excellent judgment, flexibility, determination, and grace in a sometimes high-pressure office.
- Integrity, honesty and a balanced, non-partisan approach.
- Exceptional written and oral communications skills.
- The ability to work effectively in a collaborative context, both internally and externally.
- Ability to lead, build, and participate in teams, including a willingness to communicate openly, listen well, and learn from others.
- Excellent judgment and follow through.
- Sophistication about public policy and an intellectual curiosity.
- Demonstrated ability to work effectively and collaboratively with a team.
This is a full-time, at-will position. Salary is commensurate with experience and includes excellent benefits, including health, dental/vision, a 401(k) plan with an employer contribution, Medical Expense Reimbursement Program, life insurance, and generous vacation, sick, and holiday leave.
Commensurate with Experience
Posting Expiration Date:
How to Apply:
Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be accepted until the position is filled. Please email your cover letter, resume, professional writing sample on which you are the primary author, and three professional references to [email protected]. Please submit your application materials via Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF. Include all attachments in a single email stating, in the subject line, “Director of Criminal Justice Reform Program”.
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