At the Vera Institute of Justice, our vision is of a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all. At a propitious moment for justice reform, we are standing up and driving change on a variety of fronts—eliminating cash bail, ending mass incarceration, vastly improving life behind bars, ensuring that immigrants get due process, and centering all this work in racial equity. Over the past few years, with 2.2 million people behind bars we’ve reached a tipping point, and justice reform has become mainstream. It’s on the front pages, it’s bipartisan, it’s got new funders, it’s attracting cultural attention. Vera has been on the cutting edge of this change.
Convincing people to change the way they think and act in order to serve justice is in our DNA. Using evidence to creatively advance our arguments is core to our mission. If you are looking for an opportunity to develop rigorous research that helps shape and compel narrative and policy change on one of the most urgent justice issues of our time, read on.
For the past two decades, Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ) has been partnering with government leaders, advocates, the immigration legal services community, and the public to build a movement for publicly-funded deportation defense for immigrants facing deportation. We are testing models, piloting solutions, and generating evidence in support of this goal through programs like our Legal Orientation Programs, Unaccompanied Children Program, National Qualified Representative Program, and SAFE Network. There is an urgency to this work. Last year, more than half a million non-citizens were booked into immigration detention, including tens of thousands of immigrant children. More than 6.5 million people have been deported in the past few decades alone. Our research has shown it is almost impossible to advance a successful defense, especially from inside detention, without the assistance of an attorney, and our programs are demonstrating the benefits that accrue when due process is available to all persons in the United States, regardless of citizenship status. We believe with a greater body of evidence demonstrating the long-term human, social, and economic effects of detention and deportation, alongside the benefits of counsel, we can get closer to a world in which justice is available to everyone.
That’s where you come in. We are looking to hire up to four innovative, methodologically rigorous senior researchers with personal immigration system experiences and/ or a demonstrated commitment to immigrant justice and race equity, to help drive the growing agenda our interdisciplinary team is advancing. We are looking for people who understand the demands of an applied research setting and can fill one or more substantive and methodological needs (we are open to combining the roles in creative ways as appropriate, and ask that candidates submit only one application and cover letter describing which role or combination of roles they envision undertaking):
What you’ll do in this role
Beyond the descriptions above, Senior Research Associates in CIJ work with the Research Director for the Center on Immigration and Justice and collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team to conduct, supervise, describe, and advance research in support of CIJ’s goals, including its efforts in support of universal representation for immigrants facing deportation. This involves both jumping into and shaping existing work as well as collaboratively conceiving and developing new research. Some SRAs in CIJ oversee research on a substantive program while others oversee research requiring specific methodologies. As such, all senior research staff work closely with each other and program directors to advance our goals and mission. Researchers are both full members of the centers and programs they work in and join a robust, interdisciplinary research department with methodological and subject matter experts from around the institute.
Who you are
What we need in you
The Nitty - Gritty
When you join our team
Based on experience and including excellent benefits. Vera believes in compensating its staff members at or above market.
How to Apply
Please submit a cover letter, resume and links to your published materials. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until position is filled. Candidates can be based in one of Vera’s offices (Brooklyn, DC, or LA). Online submission in PDF format (through Vera’s careers page) is preferred. However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to
ATTN: People Resources / Senior Research Associate, CIJ
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th Street, Suite 4-3B
Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
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.
For more information about Vera’s work, please visit www.vera.org.
At the Vera Institute of Justice, our vision is of a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all. At a propitious moment for justice reform, we are standing up and driving change on a variety of fronts…
As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our employees through above market rate compensation, student loan repayment benefits, generous assisted reproductive technology coverage through our comprehensive medical insurance plan, paid leave time including Paid Family Leave, employer retirement savings contributions, and on-site mindfulness meditation sessions and other wellness initiatives throughout the year.
We are taking the steps necessary to become an antiracist institution. This means we are committed to dismantling racism both within our institution and the wider community and to transforming our professional relationships and activities to align with this vision. Through our Racial Equity and Inclusion Initiative, we offer trainings to build organizational capacity and create formal and informal channels for discussion. We have created a Racial Equity Action Plan that spells out some of our key goals and commitments.
As part of our commitment to staff, Vera is proud to offer unique opportunities for professional development.
Learning/Sharing Incentives: Vera supports staff learning and sharing in many forms, including:
Idea Pipeline investments: Any Veran may apply for more significant internal funding to pilot a project that has the potential to become an important new area of work for Vera. The idea pipeline is part of our journey to be more equitable internally by providing a broader range of staff with a path to design new work that will impact the justice field.
Vera encourages opportunities during and after work to strengthen bonds and create meaningful relationships. We host a monthly staff breakfast, sponsor coffee meet-ups, organize brown bag learning opportunities and, twice a year, we convene all staff for a series of workshops and fun.
As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our employees through above…