Deputy Director of Organizing & Partnerships, Campaign for Smart Justice

The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking a full-time Deputy Director of Organizing and Partnerships for the Smart Justice Campaign. The position is based in New York City.


With 2.3 million people behind bars in this country, the United States has earned the disgraceful distinction of being the world’s largest jailer. The nation’s machine of mass incarceration severely limits the ability of people, disproportionately people of color, from participating in the social, political and economic life of this country.

The ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign, launched in 2010, is committed to realizing a new criminal justice system – one that is substantially smaller than its current size while also keeping communities safe, advancing racial justice, treating people fairly, and using fiscal resources wisely.

The ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign works with partners to build a movement for social change and win state-based reforms needed to dramatically cut the size of our nation’s incarcerated population, while leveraging wins for nationwide reforms. The Campaign is committed to advancing both decarceration and racial justice.  The issue of mass incarceration is ripe for bi-partisan involvement, and the ACLU works collaboratively with groups across the political spectrum to achieve our goal of ending mass incarceration.

Working in close partnership with ACLU affiliates, state and national coalition partners, and in particular, communities impacted by the criminal justice system, the Deputy Director of Organizing and Partnerships will work with the Campaign Director to lead a nationwide team in developing and executing state-based campaigns to reform the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on engaging impacted community members and allies in this movement for reform. The multi-disciplinary campaign team will include expertise in legislative and ballot campaigns, community organizing, coalition building, strategic communications, research, and criminal justice policy.  The Deputy Director of Organizing and Partnerships will report to the Director of the Campaign. The ideal candidate will be someone who has personal experience with the criminal justice system, and experience in movement building, organizing and coalition building, as well as a track record of strategic development of long-term advocacy plans.


  • Work with the Campaign team, in close collaboration with ACLU affiliates and other national ACLU staff, to plan and implement a 5o-state strategy to end mass incarceration in the United States.
  • Expand and manage the ACLU’s organizing and coalition work, particularly with formerly incarcerated individuals and with organizations representing communities most impacted by the criminal justice system, to build a movement to end mass incarceration.
  • Manage the successful completion of objectives of the national and state-based campaign staff, and assess the progress toward meeting objectives, provide feedback and direction as needed.
  • Train and provide technical assistance to ACLU affiliates on building local coalition and on organizing and movement building strategies.
  • Collaborate with ACLU affiliates and colleagues in the national ACLU to enhance and embolden the ACLU’s political, organizing, and coalition building advocacy.
  • Assist in hiring national and state-based Campaign staff and consultants to execute and implement strategy.
  • Organize Smart Justice Campaign events and implement strategies to educate and mobilize the public on the campaign’s goals and work.
  • Represent the ACLU in national coalitions.
  • Develop relationships with funders, researchers, policymakers, academics, and members of the media.
  • Help oversee development of Campaign public education materials, polling, research, reports and  policy documents, as well as social media content, fact sheets, e-mails, and other advocacy materials.


  • A minimum of five years of experience developing and leading community organizing, legislative advocacy, political, electoral, and/or issue campaigns.
  • Personal experience being incarcerated or in other ways entangled with the criminal justice system, preferred.
  • Experience working with communities of color in building movements for social change.
  • Experience applying an expansive toolbox of strategies including community organizing, coalition building, paid and earned media, online activism, and message development, to move decision-makers.
  • Experience in building and successfully managing coalitions.
  • Experience and demonstrated success in leading legislative or organizing campaigns.
  • Experience and demonstrated success in managing and motivating a team to achieve short-term and long-term goals.
  • Excellent communications skills, including public presentation skills, meeting facilitation skills, and strong media relations skills.
  • Strong writing skills, including ensuring reports and other public communications are written in a clear and cogent manner.
  • Passion for and commitment to decarceration and racial justice required.
  • Proven track record of working collaboratively with colleagues across departments and functions.
  • Willingness to travel, as needed.
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred. Master’s degree a plus.


The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.


Please send a cover letter and resume to– Reference ASD-52 in the subject line. Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to the National Political Advocacy Department posting. In order to ensure your application is received, please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address. You can expect to receive an automatic response that acknowledges the submission of application materials.

Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the job description and or posting at any time without advance notice.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.

The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact Correspondence sent to this email address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed. Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

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