Associate Director, Policy and Advocacy, Redefining Public Safety

15 Dec, 2021


Associate Director, Policy and Advocacy, Redefining Public Safety

Vera Institute of Justice
Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; New Orleans, LA; Los Angeles, CA

Who we are

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grassroots organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.

Vera has a staff of almost 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.

Who you are:

The Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Redefining Public Safety team will lead the development and implementation of RPS’s state and federal policy and advocacy strategy in partnership with the Program Director and Vera’s Advocacy and Partnerships team, advancing campaigns that narrow the scope of policing while ensuring investments in a robust civilian public safety ecosystem and infrastructure in areas including violence intervention, neighborhood safety, and crisis response programs. They will also be tapped to provide strategic advice and analysis and policy guidance to RPS’s local partners, and to support the ongoing development of policy principles that reflect the insights of communities disproportionately impacted by policing and mass criminalization. Additionally, in leading issue-specific campaigns, the Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy will coordinate closely with RPS researchers and communications staff to track and spotlight the growing evidence base for alternatives to policing.

In this role, you will:

Develop and execute state-level campaigns

  • Work with Program Director and Advocacy and Partnerships team to develop and implement RPS’s statewide campaigns, to include policy development, legislative lobbying, and coalition building. Manage lobbying contracts in each priority state.

Shape and lead federal policy engagement

  • Work with Program Director and Advocacy and Partnerships team to shape federal legislation and executive branch policy. This will include a focus on data transparency and community-based public safety solutions spanning crisis response, traffic enforcement, violence intervention, and other areas of concern. It will also entail monitoring federal rulemaking, guidance, interagency coordination, and related activities for opportunities to further advance Vera’s policing and public safety reform priorities, including effective implementation of 988.

Build and implement strategy

  • Advise the Program Director on overall policy and advocacy strategy and serve on the Redefining Public Safety leadership team.
  • Strategize with RPS leadership and staff, facilitate team discussions on our approach to systems change, support for communities affected by overpolicing, and technical assistance for government actors willing to pursue antiracist policy implementation
  • Liaise with other teams, projects, and initiatives across Vera to advance public safety transformation strategy

Contribute to communications, presentation and publications

  • Manage communications strategies that support state campaign efforts and national narrative shift in partnership with the Program Director, working closely with the Vera communications team to identify spokespeople, messaging, and tactics.
  • Develop and author publications and policy briefs; appear in convenings, webinars, etc. on Vera’s behalf.
  • Supervise team members’ drafting of various written products

Support local work

  • Advise RPS’s local partners on advocacy and policy matters. Oversee the development of model policies responsive to local needs.

What qualifications do you need?


  • B.A. degree, or the equivalent work and life experience
  • 7+ years of policy and advocacy experience in the justice reform space, building coalitions, allies and national strategy. Experience with grasstops and grassroots advocacy, lobbying, and campaigns.
  • Experience developing and managing issue area campaigns and building diverse coalitions
  • Experience drafting legislation and legislative lobbying
  • Track record of working effectively to move federal legislation, policy, or public sentiment on social justice issues.
  • Communications acumen, including experience as a spokesperson and experience developing media strategy to support campaign efforts
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Ability to build partnerships with grassroots and grasstops collaborators, working across lines of identity and power
  • Ability to work collaboratively with a national, remote team


  • Substantive knowledge of federal policy, legislation, and its politics
  • Familiarity and comfort with data, a plus

List of Required Software applications:

  • Zoom, PowerPoint, Microsoft Office Suite, Google, etc.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / Associate Director, Policy and Advocacy, Redefining Public Safety

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.

As a federal contractor, and in order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.

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.

Job posted: 2021-12-15