Policy Associate
Haywood Burns Institute


The W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) is a national non-profit organization based in Oakland, California.  Our mission is to protect and improve the lives of youth and adults of color and the well-being of their communities by ensuring fairness and equity throughout the justice system.

BI uses a data-driven and collaborative approach to reducing racial and ethnic disparities by working with justice and community stakeholders to develop community alternatives to justice system involvement. Additionally, through the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY), BI supports communities in building capacity to hold child serving systems accountable and reduce the inappropriate use of the youth justice system for youth misbehavior. BI has worked in over 100 sites nationwide.

The policy department advances BI’s mission by:

  • analyzing data to create narratives on disparate outcomes for people of color within the justice system,
  • facilitating training with system and community stakeholders on how to reduce disparities, and
  • researching, critiquing and advocating for relevant local, state, and national laws.

We are hiring a motivated, innovative, and versatile individual willing to work diligently to help us dismantle structural racism and promote equity in the youth and adult justice system.

Job Description

The Policy Associate will report to the Senior Policy Associate and the Director of Policy and will be responsible for advancing the BI’s mission in the following areas:

Data Analysis to Promote Equity in Youth and Adult Justice System

  • Participate in BI Site Teams to develop strategies, provide analysis and implement BI’s process to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in local justice systems.
  • Assess local justice system capacity to collect, analyze and use data to reduce disparities.
  • Review local data and assist with monitoring trends and progress in reducing disparities.
  • Develop research methodology and conduct quantitative analyses to further site based work to reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

Youth Justice Research and Policy

  • Conduct qualitative and quantitative research on pressing justice issues that impact people of color.
  • Research, strategize and advocate around innovations to promote fairness and equity in federal and state legislation, as well as local justice policy and practice.
  • Stay abreast of and provide summaries of emerging research and developments in youth and criminal law and their impact on youth and adults of color.
  • Update BI’s Web Resources, including BI’s interactive map regarding disparities.
  • Support ongoing research projects including extra-judicial factors contributing to disparities in the youth and adult justice systems.

Training and Facilitation

  • Conduct trainings and facilitate meetings regarding racial and ethnic disparities and using data to drive policy to reduce disparities.
  • Support and strengthen grassroots youth justice advocacy activities of CJNY members.
  • Present to audiences at national and local conferences in order to advance an equity agenda.

Communications and Writing

  • Draft reports to highlight progress in local work to reduce disparities.
  • Draft reports to highlight innovations in youth justice.

Additional Qualifications and Information:
The ideal candidate can demonstrate a strong commitment to racial justice and youth justice reform.  The candidate should have a graduate degree in public policy, law, or other relevant field which includes training in quantitative and qualitative analysis.  Relevant experience can be substituted for the graduate degree.  Excellent writing, comfort with statistical data, comfort with public speaking, strong computer skills, analytic skills, and experience with PowerPoint, Excel and SPSS are required.  Substantive knowledge of youth justice, and/or youth serving systems preferred.

This position requires up to 30% travel.

The W. Haywood Burns Institute is an equal opportunity employer.  Salary is dependent upon experience. The Burns Institute provides extensive benefits including fully paid health, medical, dental, vision, long-term disability insurance, Health Savings Plan (HSA), Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) and 401(k) retirement plan.

People of color, women, and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.  Bi-lingual and bi-cultural candidates are particularly desired. The candidate must work in the Burns Institute Oakland office. No relocation funds are available. Please visit our website to learn more about the Burns Institute at www.burnsinstitute.org

How to Apply:
Please send your complete applications to Senior Assistant, Andria Blackmon (ablackmon@burnsinstitute.org):

  • A letter of interest;
  • Your resume;
  • A minimum of three references; and
  • A brief writing sample demonstrating your research experience.

Please use “Policy Associate” as the subject of your email. Only complete applications will be reviewed. It is preferred that all materials be submitted via email. If emailing is not possible, please send materials to: W. Haywood Burns Institute, 475 14th Street, Suite 800, Oakland, CA 94612.

Hiring Timeline:

We will begin reviewing applications in early January 2016. While we hope to have the position filled by early March 2016, the position will remain open until we find the right person. (The position may be filled as early as January).  Only candidates selected for interview will be contacted.

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