Director of Criminal Justice Research, Policing and Crime (Washington, D.C.)
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF)

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) is a private foundation whose core objective is to improve the lives of individuals by strengthening our social, governmental, and economic systems.

Salary: Competitive salary based on qualifications plus benefits

Office: Washington, DC, preferably

LJAF’s Criminal Justice Initiative aims to dramatically improve the U.S. criminal justice system through projects that enhance public safety, treat fairly the individuals and communities affected by crime and the justice system, and ensure that public resources are put to their best use. Our team funds research, supports innovative pilot programs, and helps to bring successful policy changes to scale nationally. We are seeking a Director of Criminal Justice Research to help establish our research agenda, lead many of our most significant research projects, and provide strategic research-related advice across the Initiative. This individual will be responsible for identifying, analyzing, and pursuing new, high-leverage philanthropic opportunities, and managing current investments. The Director of Criminal Justice Research will report directly to the Vice President of Criminal Justice overseeing this domain and, working closely with the Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice, will be instrumental in building a portfolio focused on effective policing, including crime trends, reducing violent crime, including but not limited to domestic violence, and understanding the arrest power and alternatives to arrest.

Core Responsibilities:

  • Work with LJAF’s Vice President of Criminal Justice overseeing this domain and the Criminal Justice team to identify trends in criminal justice policy and practice and assess potential for data analysis, policy evaluation, and piloting and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to improve criminal justice and other outcomes for individuals, as well as promote the safety and well-being of communities
  • Develop, present, and make charitable investment/grant recommendations to the Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice and LJAF’s Board of Directors
  • Work with grantees to develop strategic plans, assess research designs, and establish performance metrics
  • Oversee charitable investments approved by LJAF’s Board of Directors
  • Provide advice and consultation on all criminal justice research grants, as well as projects in development, so as to ensure the highest methodological rigor and study design
  • Work with the Board of Directors, Executive Vice President, and the Criminal Justice team to refine LJAF’s criminal justice strategy
  • Develop and manage relationships with key stakeholders, experts, and new and existing grantees
  • Collaborate with LJAF staff to explore and develop cross-initiative charitable investment opportunities and build the research capacity of the Criminal Justice team

Essential Skills, Experience, and Abilities:

  • Several years of experience performing and/or overseeing significant policy-relevant criminal justice research projects, preferably related to policing, violence, crime trends, intervention effectiveness, and the intersection of the criminal justice and other systems
  • Understanding of all phases of the criminal justice system
  • Deep knowledge of statistics and research design
  • Experience interfacing with senior-level criminal justice stakeholders about research and evaluation of justice programs and policies
  • Ability to translate complex research findings into key takeaways for diverse audiences
  • Proven ability to think transformationally about the criminal justice system and to design innovative strategies for positive and sustainable reforms
  • Effective leadership and management skills, including ability to support and develop colleagues
  • Strategic, entrepreneurial approach to developing ideas and designing solutions
  • Ability to bring disparate constituents together and build consensus
  • Creativity and rigor in finding answers to complex problems
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Capacity to effectively prioritize projects, work simultaneously on multiple ventures, and meet deadlines

Desired Personal Qualities:

  • Passionate about improving the U.S. criminal justice system
  • Creative and innovative
  • Team-oriented and collaborative, yet also able to work well independently
  • Confident and humble
  • Flexible and adaptable

Required Education:

  • Ph.D. in criminal justice, public policy, psychology, sociology, or other social sciences (Candidates with a Master’s Degree and an established research track record may be considered.)

To Apply:

Please send a resume, cover letter, two writing samples (at least one of which is sole-authored and preferably a peer-reviewed publication), and contact information for three references to Please indicate in the subject line of the email that the application is for the position of “Director of Criminal Justice Research, Policing”.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

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