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Employment Opportunities & Internships


Director of Research and Policy

The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) seeks a Director of Research and Policy. Founded in 1997, JPI is a national nonprofit organization that promotes justice reform and advances policies that promote well-being and justice for all people and communities. JPI’s research and analyses identify effective programs and policies, and we disseminate our findings to the media, policymakers and advocates, and provide training and technical assistance supports to people across the country working for justice reform. 

The Director of Research and Policy will have strategic and operational responsibility for generating,  coordinating and helping to disseminate JPI’s research on juvenile and criminal justice policy.  The Director of Research and Policy will report to the Executive Director. The successful applicant for the position will be expected to support continuation of JPI’s national leadership encouraging effective juvenile and criminal justice reform policies, as well as help provide overall coordination of JPI’s research and communications efforts.  The position requires an ability to manage multiple priorities, and a positive team orientation.


  • Provide strategic thought leadership on justice system policy issues
  • Manage JPI’s research calendar, and coordinate regular research and policy and meetings
  • In partnership with other staff, develop ideas and concepts for future research and policy priorities
  • Serve as an author and project manager on JPI research publications, including reports, policy briefs, fact sheets, rapid response materials, blog posts, op-eds, testimony and other research materials for dissemination to the field
  • Supervise research staff and consultants
  • Provide technical research assistance to other JPI staff, organizations in the field and the media
  • Assist with grant proposals and reports
  • In partnership with other staff, assist with development and implementation of dissemination and communications strategies for JPI publications, including release strategy, editing documents, and drafting collateral written materials
  • Represent JPI in meetings, coalitions, panels and at conferences
  • Create presentations of research findings for legislative bodies, government agencies, conferences and other public forums
  • Serve as research and policy contact to federal, state and local governments, national organizations, and state-based organizations working on juvenile and criminal justice policy reform
  • Participate in regular staff meetings and other planning and coordinating meetings


The Research and Policy Director will be thoroughly committed to JPI’s mission of justice reform and community development. Candidates should possess the following skills and experience:

  • Five or more years of experience, including work on national and state juvenile and criminal justice policy issues
  • A history of leadership in juvenile justice or criminal justice policy reform
  • Proven facility in applied research on justice and/or related social policies, including familiarity and comfort accessing, manipulating, and analyzing large datasets, including budgets and census data; ability to conduct literature reviews, interview and survey skills; and general ability to understand and clearly explain complex statistical analyses
  • Evidence of well-developed written and oral communication skills, including demonstrated ability to translate complex ideas and information into clear prose for a general audience
  • Track record of meeting deadlines
  • Experience working with government, nonprofits, policymakers, advocates, activists and individuals directly impacted by the justice system
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with staff, external partners and diverse communities
  • Masters or professional degree
  • Supervisory experience

Salary:  Competitive salary commensurate with skills and experience

Hours:  Full-time, salaried

To Apply:  Please send letter of application and resume to Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted. 

JPI is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity.

Communications Associate

The Justice Policy Institute seeks a full-time Communications Associate, with a passion for social justice, to join our Washington, D.C. based team.

Organization description: The Justice Policy Institute is a national nonprofit dedicated to reducing the use of incarceration and the justice system by promoting fair and effective policies. JPI does this through groundbreaking research and analysis, strategic communications, organizing, and technical assistance to advocates and policymakers.

Position summary: The full-time Communications Associate is responsible for assisting in the development, design and implementation of communications strategies, including both traditional media pitches and social media campaigns. The position calls for creative and innovative thinking to attract and engage a broad audience of advocates, scholars, practitioners, reporters, impacted individuals, policymakers and donors. 

Key responsibilities:

Work in collaboration with Director of Communications and External Affairs to:

  • Create and implement, for both digital and traditional media, effective strategies, goals, tools and tactics.
  • Create engaging content, for both digital and traditional media, to spark conversations and advocacy.
  • Draft a variety of traditional and social media writing pieces including, but not limited to, op-eds and LTE’s, blogs, social media campaigns, website content and press pitches.
  • Translate field specific jargon into accessible content.
  • Work with JPI and partner organizations’ staffs to create infographics, podcasts and videos from JPI research and reports.
  • Monitor both issues and JPI coverage in press and social media.
  • Track and analyze digital metrics across JPI’s platforms as well as emerging media trends.

Hours: Full-time


  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, criminal justice or related field preferred; equivalent experience considered.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills. Ability to write quickly and accurately. Strong editorial skills.
  • Strong skills in both social and traditional media.
  • Self-starter with the ability to work effectively both independently and as a member of a team.
  • Fluency with current and emerging technology. Experience with broad range of platforms including social media, blogging, CMS and eblast platforms; Adobe Creative Suite and Cision preferred.

Salary: $40,000-45,000, depending on experience.

To apply: Please email a cover letter, resume, and two work samples based on releasing a past JPI report of your choice. Sample 1 consists of 2-3 days worth of social media content across multiple platforms following the release. Sample 2 consists of one paragraph each on 2-3 potential traditional media pitches on the same report release.

Please use subject line “Communications Associate.” Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.

Please submit (email, preferred) documents to: Please, no phone calls or visits. JPI is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity.

Fall 2018 Internship Program

Applications accepted on a semester basis. Deadline: July 13, 2018

The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the use of incarceration and the justice system by promoting fair and effective policies. Our research and analyses identify effective programs and policies and we disseminate our findings to the media, policymakers and advocates, and provide training and technical assistance to support people working for justice reform. 

We seek self-motivated interns with demonstrated investment in the field who are interested in gaining experience in the practical application of criminal justice and juvenile justice reform by participating in all aspects of JPI’s work, including research, communications, and organizing. Internships will be structured around the development of one or more work products that will support JPI's strategic initiatives.  This work may include: 

  • Developing research proposals
  • Assisting with and/or authoring research materials
  • Gathering and analyzing data
  • Creating written, video, or audio material for JPI’s digital media platforms
  • Scanning news sources and compiling a daily news digest
  • Participating in and developing materials for state-based strategy meetings 

 Interest in justice reform is critical and familiarity with these issues is very helpful.  In addition, a strong candidate will possess the following qualifications: 

  • Strong writing skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Basic understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Competence with the tools and methods for literature and web-based information searches
  • Experience with digital media platforms with experience and interest in editing video and blogging a plus

Selected candidates will receive hands-on experience conducting research, analyzing policy, communicating across an array of platforms, and working closely with other organizations to advocate for reform at an organization with a proven record of effectively using research, communications, and organizing to promote social change.

 We are committed to creating a fulfilling and rewarding internship experience and view this as a partnership between our organization, students, and educators. In addition to internship activities, interns will be able to attend justice reform related briefings, hearings, and other events around D.C. to increase their knowledge and network with other justice reform experts in the field. Interns are requested to work a minimum of 20 hours per week.  Schedules are flexible and can work around students school and/or work activities. This is an unpaid internship; however, we are happy to work with schools that provide funding or course credit.

 Interested applicants should send their resume, a cover letter detailing why they are interested in working with JPI and a brief scholarly writing sample or blog via email to Applicants must have specific interest in research, communications, and organizing. Only qualified candidates will be contacted for next steps. No phone calls please.

 We look forward to hearing from you!

Revised March 2018

JPI's work

Through a combination of groundbreaking research, communications strategies and technical assistance, we inform advocates, policymakers and the media about fair and effective approaches to justice and community well-being.

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We envision a society with safe, equitable and healthy communities; just and effective solutions to social problems; and the use of incarceration only as a last resort. Please help us end the #IncarcerationGeneration with a generous contribution.

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