Vera’s government affairs team is growing! Hiring a new one-year senior government affairs associate
Vera Institute of Justice

At the Vera Institute of Justice, our vision is 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—by eliminating money bail, ending mass incarceration, vastly improving life behind bars, ensuring that immigrants get due process, and centering our work on principles of racial equity. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.


Who We Are

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, envisions a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for everyone.

  • We study problems that impede human dignity and justice.
  • We pilot solutions that are at once transformative and achievable.
  • We engage diverse communities in informed debate.
  • We harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice.

Vera works with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime and violence. Vera has offices in Brooklyn, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans and people working in communities across the country. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace—specifically, we value diverse experiences with regards to educational background and justice system contact. We hire employees that reflect our values: racial equity, respect, independence, collaboration, and commitment.


The Role

Vera is seeking a networked, imaginative, and collaborative colleague for a one-year position to play a key role in our campaign to expand access to postsecondary education, as well as other key federal policy initiatives, by engaging federal policymakers, opinion leaders, and organizational partners to advance our priorities and expand the visibility of Vera’s work.


What you’ll do:

  • Manage a federal policy team of staff and consultants for our postsecondary education campaign and coordinate closely with the campaign’s lead staff, as well as with advocates and stakeholders.
  • Serve as a liaison on other Vera issues and priorities between federal agencies, Hill staff, and DC-based advocacy groups and Vera staff in order to communicate Vera’s goals and mission to a broad stakeholder audience.
  • Draft fact sheets, blogs, event descriptions, and hearing testimony targeted to legislators and federal agencies about Vera’s work, and briefing materials, including background information and talking points to prepare Vera staff for meetings or testimony and ensuring effective distribution of Vera publications to DC-based audiences.
  • Present Vera’s reports, research, and projects to a wide variety of DC stakeholders in both formal and informal settings.
  • Analyze and track pending legislation, executive orders, and regulations related to criminal justice and immigration; follow Congressional committee hearings and mark-ups, on funding and other issues; and provide support in monitoring the federal budget and appropriations process to identify current funding issues that relate to or may impact Vera’s work.
  • Support efforts to expand interactions and relationships with federal, state, and local government partners, and identify and pursue government funding opportunities for Vera’s work.
  • Support, develop ideas, and organize Congressional briefings, meetings, and events involving high-level federal and non-governmental participants and stakeholders to highlight Vera’s work.


What you bring

  • You have experience with the justice system—either you were yourself in the system, have a family member who is/was in the system, you worked in the system, or you worked to change the system.
  • You know federal justice policy, its legislation, and its politics. You are knowledgeable and experienced at researching and analyzing federal policy and legislation, and you are familiar with the activities and functions of relevant Congressional Committees, including the Senate and House Judiciary and Appropriations Committees.
  • You have a deep understanding of the players and stakeholders, and credibility with them.
  • You are a skilled communicator. You understand the issues and can present them cogently to a broad range of stakeholders; you write quickly, clearly, persuasively and accessibly – from tweets, to blogs, to issue briefs;
  • You collaborate, work well in a team, and you look for how you can help without being told. It’s a Vera value – we thrive when we learn and build on each other’s ideas, are open to giving and receiving feedback, are great team players who are stronger together.
  • Ability to engage broad networks. We need to connect across the aisle, and in geographies we don’t currently operate. We need to build partnerships, find new adherents and new ambassadors.
  • Interpersonal skills and characteristics suited for a complex, fast-paced and fluid institution. You can build trust and form genuine relationships with a wide range of individuals quickly. You enjoy doing so. You find reward in supporting others to do what they do even better. You approach work with mission orientation and joy. You laugh easily and aren’t thrown into crisis by ambiguity, newness or the need for improvisation and invention.
  • Initiative and an orientation toward problem-solving.
  • A deep commitment to racial equity. In a system built on racism and inequity, we are working to ensure equity both in our workplace and in the world. You incorporate this value and share it with others.
  • Organizational, time-management and multi-tasking skills, including the ability to take initiative, prioritize tasks and duties, pay close attention to detail, work independently and under pressure to meet specific deadlines.


The Nitty – Gritty

  • This is a full-time position preferably based in D.C.
  • Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.


When you join our team 

  • You can expect to work with a team of amazing people who have tenacity, are creative, scrappy, and are committed to getting the work done. Why? Because our work is urgent, impactful, and more important than ever.
  • You will have great benefits, and work-life balance. Driving meaningful change is hard work. But we also know that you have a life, places to go, and people to see.


How to apply

Please submit cover letter and resume. Online submission in PDF format is preferred. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until position is filled.


However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to

ATTN: People and Culture/ Senior Gov’t Affairs Official

Vera Institute of Justice

34 35th street, 4-2A
Brooklyn, NY 11232

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