Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Columbia Justice Lab

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $55,000
Maximum: $65,000



Start Date


Application Deadline



475 Riverside Drive
New York
New York
United States


The Columbia Justice Lab within the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy seeks to appoint 1-2 Postdoctoral Research Scholars (PRS). The PRS will be a member of Bruce Western's research team for the New York Rikers Island Longitudinal Study (RILS), currently funded by the WT Grant Foundation and the Pennsylvania Solitary Study (PASS), currently funded by the NSF.

The RILS is a panel study of defendants facing a new criminal charge in New York City. The RILS will examine how race, poverty, and related vulnerabilities shape pretrial outcomes. In collaboration with Emily Wang’s Health Justice Lab (Yale Medical School) and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the RILS is intended to produce policy relevant research on jail population reduction, particularly as it relates to racial disparity, repeated incarceration, and incarceration for those with histories of mental illness, addiction, and housing insecurity. Work on the RILS will include:

·       Assisting with study design and IRB application

·       Develop study instrument (interview questionnaire)

·       Field work (interviewing)

·       Gathering and analyzing administrative data and statistics

·       Qualitative and quantitative data analyses

·       Literature reviews

·       Drafting written reports of findings

The PASS examines the effects and conditions of solitary confinement with a longitudinal survey of 117 incarcerated men who were living in a Restricted Housing Unit in the Pennsylvania state prison system during 2017. Combining fieldwork and intervie0ws with incarcerated people and prison staff, a neurocognitive battery administered to incarcerated respondents, and an analysis of administrative records, the PASS breaks new ground in research on prisons and inequality, using mixed methods to study conditions of penal confinement and effects on health and well-being, labor force participation after prison release, and recidivism. Work over the past year has included the completion of data collection; coding, cleaning, and transcribing interview data; and initial analyses which will form the basis of a paper on the conditions of solitary confinement as illuminated by the study. Work on the PASS will include:


·      Coding of qualitative and quantitative data

·      Analyzing qualitative and quantitative data

·      Drafting written reports based on data analyses

·      Setting up a digital repository

·      Developing documentation protocols for data archives


Applicants must possess a Ph.D in a relevant field such as Sociology, Criminal Justice policy or other social sciences; high level quantitative skills preferred; this is a full-time position for a term of up to 12 months, renewable for up to 1 additional year, contingent on performance and the continued availability of funding. Salary $55,000-$65,000, commensurate with experience.

Columbia University is an EEO/AAE Employer.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

Doctorate (PhD)

How To Apply

To apply, please send your CV, cover letter, a list of three references and a relevant writing sample to Natalie Smith at Resume review will begin immediately.