Policy Research Associate

Job Type

Full Time


Details: Compensation will be based on experience and skills.




475 14th Street
Suite 800
United States


The Position: Policy Research Associate

Reports to: Senior Policy Associate

Location: Oakland, California

Commitment: Full time

Background on the W. Haywood Burns Institute

The W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) is a national non-profit organization based in Oakland, California. We seek to protect and improve the lives of people of color by promoting restorative and equitable justice system practices. Specifically, we work with local justice system decision-makers and community members to reduce racial and ethnic disparities using a data driven, collaborative approach. Our model is firmly anchored in a dual emphasis on data‐driven strategies and community engagement. Data analysis targets specific groups within the justice system and locates decision points where strategic policy and practice change can successfully intervene to improve outcomes for people of color. BI also supports the capacity of people most impacted by the justice system to participate meaningfully in the reform process and to redirect resources to community-based interventions.

Through our community organizing arm, the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY), we enhance the capacity of community organizations to advocate for effective and culturally-appropriate interventions for youth of color and poor communities.

Where do we work?

The Burns Institute (BI) has worked in more than 40 jurisdictions nationwide and achieved significant results in reducing racial and ethnic disparities. The BI model is dynamic and innovative because it proves that reducing disparities is within the realm of possibility. Through CJNY’s 200-member national network, the BI provides support to organizations that provide advocacy, alternatives to detention, grassroots campaigns, and equips local organizations with tools and information to strengthen their programs and engage in policy work. For more information about our work, please visit our website: http://www.burnsinstitute.org/

The Position

The BI is seeking a Policy Research Associate to provide full-time support to the Policy staff, with some support provided to other departments as well. The position works on a variety of projects which include: keeping staff appraised of relevant research; analyzing data to better understand the impact of system decision making on people of color; and legislative advocacy.

The Policy Research Associate should have knowledge of the justice field, a deep commitment to racial equity, and proven success working independently on multiple projects. This position requires confidence, attention to detail, and curiosity.

Areas of Responsibility


  • Critically examine and develop internal and external communications regarding relevant research and reports.
  • Actively seek out needed data through internet search and phone calls.
  • Track and research legislation reforms across the country and keep staff updated.

Data Analysis and Presentation Development

  • Review, spot-check and analyze quantitative and qualitative data from sites to determine trends and areas for additional inquiry.
  • Develop charts in Excel to analyze and visualize client data.
  • Work with Policy team and Site managers to develop presentations in PowerPoint and Prezi.

Writing and Copy Editing

  • Write blog posts based on current events, new BI publications, and other research topics.
  • Review documents for spelling, grammar and formatting.
  • Draft letters of support, fact sheets, and other supporting documents for pending legislation.

Candidate Qualifications/Experience


  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Knowledge of the youth and/or criminal justice system, as well as recent reforms
  • Strong time management skills
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple time-sensitive projects at once
  • Knowledge of the legislative process (in at least one state, ideally California)
  • Experience working with Microsoft Office, particularly Excel, Powerpoint and Word
  • A commitment and enthusiasm for the work of the W. Haywood Burns Institute

Additional Desired Skills:

  • Adept at synthesizing and relaying information/Developed research skills and techniques for critiquing, and summarizing reports
  • Experience working with SurveyMonkey, Google forms, SPSS and Prezi
  • A deep understanding of historical and structural racism
  • Curious and pro-active
  • An active listener and clear communicator

EducationNo minimum requirement. Former system-involvement is a plus.


The BI offers excellent benefits including health care, 401(k), paid vacation, sick time, and holidays.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply


Please submit a resume, cover letter, and brief writing sample to jobs@burnsinstitute.org. Please include “Policy Research Associate Position” in the subject line. Only candidates who are selected for an interview will be contacted. Position will remain open until we find the right fit.