Job Opportunity – Criminal Justice Advocacy & Policy Counsel/Strategist

Reporting to our Policy Director, the Criminal Justice Advocacy & Policy Counsel/Strategist will be responsible for identifying areas of potential reform within the criminal justice system to pursue in order to support the campaign’s goals, drafting legislation and policy guidance to address those changes, and working closely with partners within the advocacy community, public, criminal justice system, and policymakers to achieve those changes.

One major focus of the ACLU of Arizona’s campaign will be reform of the money bail system. For example, roughly 75% of those currently held in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office facilities are held pretrial, and are therefore presumed to be innocent. Many of these defendants remain in custody solely because they cannot afford to pay bail. Pretrial detention of low-risk and moderate-risk defendants, even for period as short as a few days, is correlated with higher recidivism rates and perpetuates an endless cycle of poverty. The Advocacy and Policy Counsel will also support reform efforts in the areas of sentencing, drug policy, alternatives to incarceration, parole and probation, release opportunities, reentry, and combating racially disparate criminal justice policies.

We seek applicants with strong familiarity with Arizona’s criminal justice system and with experience working through public policy and legislative processes. People with personal experience being incarcerated or otherwise entangled with the criminal justice system are encouraged to apply.

  • A broad understanding of the Arizona criminal justice system, including but not limited to areas such as pretrial systems, alternatives to incarceration, sentencing, parole and probation, and consequences of system involvement.
  • Critical thinking skills with an ability to identify, collect and interpret relevant data for incorporation into educational materials, with an emphasis on fiscal and social impact of policies.
  • A keen ability to build and maintain key contacts among a diverse range of stakeholders, and an attentiveness to reach out to contacts as appropriate to accomplish project goals.
  • Experience with the public policy and legislative processes.
  • Comfort with deadline-oriented work and an ability to complete tasks and assignments independently, with supervision, and collaboratively.
  • Experience working in coalitions, including sensitivity to internal political dynamics among partner groups.
  • Strong written and oral communications skills, with a high level of comfort presenting information;
  • Ability to synthesize complex information for various audiences, including the public, the media, and policymakers.
  • Commitment to and experience with working in close partnership with community members, including people directly involved with and affected by the criminal justice system.
  • Passion for and demonstrated commitment to criminal justice reform, ending mass incarceration, and racial justice.
  • J.D. degree preferred, but not required.

Send a cover letter, CV, list of three professional references and a writing sample (no more than 5 pages, double-spaced, which may include a policy analysis) to: Beth Thomson-Gorman, Office Manager, ACLU of Arizona, Re: Criminal Justice Advocacy & Policy Strategist/Counsel, P.O. Box 17148, Phoenix, AZ 85011 or email to: Please list “Criminal Justice Advocacy & Policy Strategist/Counsel” in the subject line. Applications accepted until position is filled. Please indicate in your cover letter where you found this listing.

Download full job description here: az_criminal_justice_policy_counsel-final.