230 South Broad Street
The Challenge & Opportunity
On any given day, 80,000 Pennsylvanians are incarcerated in state prisons and county jails. On any given month, 230 of these individuals and their families call The Pennsylvania Prison Society asking for help. They want to remedy instances of abuse, neglect, and human rights violations while incarcerated. Incarceration in Pennsylvania increased 850 percent between 1980 and 2015 despite violent crime rates holding steady. Twenty-five percent of inmates in Pennsylvania have not been convicted of a crime - they are simply deprived of their liberty and housed in prisons while they await trial. Lack of access to health care and other issues abound during periods of incarceration and sadly for too many inmates they leave jail worse off than when they entered. For more than 230 years, the Society has led the nation in calling for a just and humane criminal justice system.
With statutory access to all prisons and jails in the Commonwealth, the Society is uniquely positioned to monitor prison conditions, provide the public accurate information about what happens behind bars and advocate for change. However, It has been decades since the Society critically examined whether its approach monitoring prisons is being done in the most effective and impactful way. That is your task as our new Prison Monitoring Director.
You are at the vanguard of the progressive correction reform movement and will led a significant body of work for one of the most impactful non profit organizations with access to jails and prisons in the United States. You will successfully research, develop and then execute a fresh approach to how prisons are monitored across Pennsylvania. You will bring light to some of the otherwise dark corners of the world and answer some of these key questions for the Society:
- What is the right mix of approaches the organization should use to monitor prisons?
- Should the Society and its volunteers use surveys, inspections, respond to individuals requests for help, respond to data requests from prisons, some combination of the above or something else?
- How should the Society leverage their 300+ volunteer network to conduct monitoring?
- How can the Society improve its role as Pennsylvania’s ombudsman (an independent body that an individual can turn to for redress when an institution isn’t working as intended)? And how does the Society being the default correctional ombudsman intersect with prison monitoring?
Your Charge (WHAT You’ll Be Doing)
- Within 4 months, you will survey the Society’s current approach to monitoring and interview volunteers and officials from all five regions of the State. You will review existing data from the Society and from various state and county prisons. You will also familiarize yourself with the monitoring approaches taken by the handful of other non-profit correctional monitoring organizations in the country. You’ll speak with and learn best practices from a range of experts. While you are conducting your landscape scan, you’ll form an advisory group to provide feedback and guidance on your work. At the end of this four month period you will present an initial report and findings on how prison monitoring should be approached state-wide to the Executive Director, Board of Directors and Advisory Group.
- Within 8 months, you will further refine your prison monitoring plan(s) for review by the ED/Board/Advisory Group including how the plan will be funded and staffed (leveraging existing volunteers or otherwise) and the timeline for doing so. During this period, you may also be piloting a range of different options.
- During the remaining 10 months, you will implement your plan and determine what additional infrastructure is needed for the Society to become optimally productive and impactful in promoting humane prisons across Pennsylvania.
How You’ll Go About It (while not all of these are requirements, our strongest applicants will see themselves in more of these competencies than not):
- You have at least four (4) years of experience in criminal justice, independent oversight, or a related field.
- You are creative but tethered to reality. You are inspired by creating something from nothing. You approach your work expansively but practically. You pay attention to lessons learned and constantly fine tune as you go.
- You are analytical + results focused. Your ability to collect and analyze data, review literature and similar programs, synthesize the perspective of diverse stakeholders, leverage surveys and interviews, explore fiscal implications ensures your approach leaves no stone unturned. Your excellent written communication and verbal presentation style effectively communicates your research and conclusions.
- Your warm + professional demeanor works for everyone. You adjust your communication style to appeal to disparate stakeholders including those who are incarcerated, top public officials and everyone in between.
- You are the consummate team player. You’re known for getting along with everyone in a small office regardless of their personality or stature and leverage their expertise to advance your work.
- You inspire and lead others. You have experience galvanizing volunteers with a mission that calls them to act while keeping staff you work with on track to achieve shared goals. You are thoughtful and comfortable leading an organizational transformation. You are sensitive to the skills and wants of a large dedicated volunteer base without being paralyzed by the need to include or please everyone.
What You Need to Know
- APPLY HERE by Monday, November 16th at 3pm EST - If the above speaks to you, we’re excited to learn more about you!
- Answers to Your Questions - We have answered many of your candidate questions in our candidate cheat sheet HERE. Please be sure to read this before you apply. Note: this is a 18 month grant funded position with the hope that it turns into a full time job.
- Start Date - late December 2018
- Salary Range - $65K. Medical and dental insurance coverage provided.
- Flexible Time Off - You’ll work from 9am-5pm with flexible time off.
- Manager - You will report to Claire Shubik-Richards, Executive Director of the Society.
At the Society, we don’t just accept difference — we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our staff, our mission and our community. The Society is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace.
Medical and dental coverage provided. Flexible time off.
Minimum Education Required