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Employment Opportunities & Internships

Communications Director

 Deadline: July 20, 2017

The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) seeks a Communications Director. 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.  (For more information, visit

The Justice Policy Institute seeks a dynamic and seasoned full-time Director of Communication to lead an ambitious range of communications strategies. The Director is responsible for communicating with the media, the public and a myriad of interested parties on a wide variety of criminal and juvenile justice issues.  This position is also responsible for all JPI publications/marketing materials, the organization’s web site and social media, and for working strategically with the senior management team to develop creative solutions to implement the organization’s initiatives. The Justice Policy Institute uses communication as a tool to directly achieve its mission to reduce society’s reliance on incarceration.  The Director of Communications reports directly to the Executive Director, supervises a digital media associate, and works closely with the Director of Research and Policy and other JPI staff.

The successful applicant for the position will be expected to develop and implement comprehensive communications strategies in support of JPI’s national leadership encouraging effective juvenile and criminal justice policies.  The position requires strong writing skills, a creative approach to disseminating ideas, excellent oral communication skills, an ability to manage multiple priorities, and a positive team orientation.


  • Develop and manage communication strategies on major juvenile and criminal justice reform efforts, as well as creating media plans for research publications and related efforts;
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with key members of traditional and new media outlets, partners in justice reform, and allies in the field; regularly update and maintain media contact lists;
  • Manage execution of new media communications outreach including Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, Podcasting, etc.;
  • Create inventive marketing strategies to include conceptualizing, researching, writing, and designing special projects, as well as retaining outside consultants (designers, writers, photographers, media marketing firms, etc.), as needed;
  • Develop and implement distribution plans for all JPI publications, including producing materials and developing strategies to reach and engage diverse cultural and political constituencies;
  • Write, edit, distribute and pitch press releases and media advisories on events, reports, and releases for organization and partner projects;
  • Write, edit and distribute opeds, articles, newsletters, e-newsletters, and other materials;
  • Guide and oversee the development and production of materials, publications, marketing tools and online communications platforms that engage the media, political and donor markets, and the general public in support of JPI’s mission;
  • Train and educate grassroots and grasstops organizations, government agents and policymakers, foundations, and other stakeholders in collaboration with senior management;
  • Supervise communications specialist and interns working on communications projects.


The ideal candidate will be a strategically focused communications professional with extensive experience in public relations, media, and outreach activities. She/he will also demonstrate an established track record of creating and directing a multi-dimensional communications program. 

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • A minimum of 5 years experience in leadership positions of strategic communications departments, as well as experience with publications and media relations, preferably focused on social justice issues.
  • Extensive experience working with both print and broadcast media at local, regional, and national levels.
  • Expertise effectively leveraging digital and social media. Experience with online research and communication technology. Website experience required;
  • Skill in designing and producing impactful printed materials.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage staff and volunteers and serve as part of a management team for the organizations work;
  • Outstanding management, writing, time management, and interpersonal skills. Strong analytical and strategic planning abilities are paramount. Experience must include producing press releases, fact sheets, testimonies, and talking points.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and manage multiple priorities and projects effectively. Interest and experience in working with a broad and diverse range of people, from youth and political activists, to coalition partners, to board members, foundations, and the press;
  • Demonstrated ability to strategically and creatively implement strategies to achieve JPI’s programmatic goals and develop communications for diverse audiences; experience working with communities of color; an expert grasp of the ways in which public opinion is shaped; and extensive experience with traditional and new media, as well as, other communication vehicles that can be used to inform the public debate and advance justice reform;
  • Superb writing and editing skills and demonstrated ability to handle complex and controversial issues and to translate information about them for broad audiences;
  • Skill in identifying and pursuing opportunities to advance the organization’s goals and mission, including, but limited to, speaking engagements, conference presentations, or the submission of written opinions or commentaries;
  • Ability to work well under pressure and to reliably meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment with excellent attention to detail and organizational skills;
  • Supervisory experience;
  • Bachelor of Arts/Science in marketing, communication or journalism.

Compensation:  Competitive salary commensurate with skills and experience. Excellent medical, dental, vision and other benefits provided.

Hours:  Full-time, salaried

To Apply:  Please email a cover letter, resume and two work samples that demonstrate your qualifications for this position to by July 20, 2017.

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

JPI is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity.

Revised March 2017

Spring 2018 Internship Program

Applications accepted on a semester basis. Deadline: November 20, 2017

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 August 2017

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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