South Side & Criminal Justice Reform Organizer

Job Type

Full Time


Details: Compensation is commensurate with experience.




United States


The People’s Lobby is looking for an organizer with at least 3-5 years organizing experience to organize institutions and individuals on the South Side (east of the Dan Ryan) around racial and economic justice with a focus in 2018 on two criminal justice campaigns:


State’s Attorney Accountability

TPL and Reclaim Chicago collectively dialed and doorknocked more than 300,000 voters for Foxx based on her commitment to reform the way prosecution is done in Cook County so that far fewer people will be locked up. However, Foxx faces significant challenges in implementing these reforms, including a staff of more than 1,000 who are used to doing things a certain way and a broader set of actors in the criminal justice system and Chicago political machine who will resist change. In order for Foxx to succeed as a reformer in this challenging environment, she is going to need a combination of A) public shows of support for the progressive and visionary elements of her platform, B) community input into some of the concrete details of how those things are implemented, and C) reasonable and measured public accountability. These will ensure that she has the public support to push the other players who need to change their behavior for a reform agenda to succeed, and that she feels some pressure and accountability from her base to counteract the pressure she will feel from power holders invested in continuing the status quo.


Bail Reform

The bail system in Cook County needs reform. Cook County Jail is the largest single-site jail in the country, incarcerating more than 6,000 people per day. An additional 2,000 people are under the Cook County Jail’s supervision through electronic monitoring. A majority of the people detained are pretrial and thus presumed innocent. The overuse of pretrial incarceration and monitoring comes at tremendous personal cost to impacted individuals and entire communities. Pretrial detention leads to lost jobs, lost housing, and even lost custody of children. In addition, people detained pretrial are more likely to be convicted and also receive longer sentences compared to people released pretrial. African Americans receive disproportionately high monetary bonds and are disproportionately unable to pay these bonds. Seventy-three percent of the people incarcerated in the Cook County Jail are African American despite the fact that African Americans make up only 25% of Cook County’s population.


TPL seeks an experienced organizer to build a base of organized leaders on the South Side east of the Dan Ryan expressway to take action on these campaigns and TPL’s broader agenda of racial and economic justice.




South Side base building (45%)

  • Engage in one-on-one conversations.
  • Organize new institutions to engage actively in The People’s Lobby either by joining as institutional members or moving key clergy and lay leaders to join as individual members.
  • Recruit individual members.
  • Organize grassroots leaders to participate in daylong or weeklong training so they can build their own bases of people willing to take action.
  • Organize popular education workshops with churches and other groups to learn about criminal justice and/or TPL’s other work.


State’s Attorney Accountability work (35%)

  • Organize institutions and social service agencies to engage people in discussing mass incarceration issues and the need for reforms in Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
  • Support mass incarceration campaign lead in organizing 1-2 public actions with hundreds of people calling for reform of State’s Attorney’s Office practices.
  • Support mass incarceration campaign lead in organizing town hall meetings with Foxx and/or her staff.


Bail reform (10%)

  • Organize meetings with South Side legislators and other stakeholders to move them to sign onto bail reform policies.
  • Organize South Side leaders to participate in coalition efforts to move other stakeholders such as individual judges and Chief Judge Tim Evans.


Other (10%)

  • Participate in other TPL actions and campaigns including our People and Planet First Budget, fair elections, global minimum wage, environmental justice, etc.

Criteria for candidates:

  • 3-5 years organizing experience
  • Access to reliable car transportation preferred
  • Familiarity with the politics of the city and state preferred 
  • Willingness to participate in organizing and political education trainings


Health and dental benefits provided.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

Please send resume and cover letter to Will Tanzman at