Current Openings

Careers at Vera Institute of Justice

At the Vera Institute of Justice, we envision a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all—and our workplace reflects that same vision.

Why Vera?

We are bold. We are innovative. We are urgent.

We are agents of change, fighting for transformation of the criminal legal and immigration systems during a pivotal moment in American history. At the Vera Institute of Justice, our commitment to securing equal justice is what drives every task, every meeting, every initiative we take on. And critical to our success are our people—a diverse, talented pool of employees who share that vision and passion.

Our Commitment

Our Commitment to Race, Equity, and Inclusion

The Vera Institute of Justice is taking the steps necessary to live up to our mission of racial equity and striving to become a more antiracist institution every day. At Vera, we value antiracism, equity, and diversity across all races, genders, sexualities, abilities, and criminal legal and immigration systems. Vera is committed to shaping space, resources, and work—internally and externally—to ensure that each person can thrive in their own identities, circumstances and histories, such that disparities are eliminated and we all prosper.

We are taking purposeful action through our Race, Equity & Inclusion (REI) Initiative to identify inequities perpetuated by our organization and develop policies or practices to advance antiracist and equity principles in our workplace and work. And we are developing an REI Strategy & Action Plan, which will serve as an ever-developing equity guidebook and accountability document for our organization.

What We Do

Since the Vera Institute of Justice's inception in 1961, we have been constantly learning and innovating, ready to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, the racial disparities plaguing the criminal legal system, 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. Our core priorities are eliminating money bail, ending mass incarceration, vastly improving life behind bars, and ensuring that immigrants receive due process. We also engage in advocacy and lobbying—putting our muscle, extensive data, and vast expert knowledge behind efforts to pass legislation, reform unjust laws, and deliver concrete change. Check out our work in action.

Our People

The Vera Institute of Justice, which has more than 280 staff members, is an equal opportunity employer with a dedication to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, antiracism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value diverse experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal and immigration systems to apply.

Our Environment

Vera employees, in their casual to business-casual dress, work across four offices—in Brooklyn, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles—as well as remotely. Learn more about each office below.

Brooklyn, NY
The two-floor office is an extension of our ambition, and you can feel the energy, optimism, and bold thinking when you walk inside. The workspace is people-centered—inclusive and accessible—and on the walls, urging us on as we work, are pieces of art created by formerly incarcerated artists and Brooklyn-born artists dedicated to social justice.
Washington, DC
Our Washington, DC office, which opened in 2005 and now serves 18 employees, is ideally situated to work with our Capitol Hill partners and collaborators, including Congress, federal agencies, and other criminal justice and policy organizations, as we seek change in federal policy.
New Orleans
Vera’s New Orleans office opened in 2006 during the city’s post-Katrina efforts. It’s our smallest office, with nine employees, but it's mighty. In partnership with city leaders and community organizations, we are working to end unnecessary detention and develop innovative, collaborative projects that improve the delivery of justice in New Orleans.
Los Angeles
In 2018, Vera expanded its California office and focus, building capacity in research, technical assistance, and strategic communications. Vera’s California team, a staff of 22 in Los Angeles, works on immigration, juvenile justice, reentry, policing, communications, and more.

Our Benefits

As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our employees through:

  • Above-market-rate compensation
  • Student loan repayment benefits and up to $2,000 for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work
  • A comprehensive health insurance plan, including generous assisted reproductive technology coverage
  • Employer-funded retirement plan with financial advisory and planning services
  • COVID-19-related benefits including Power Hour (an hour of no meetings/emails), Wellness Days off with a $25 stipend
  • Generous paid time off, including sabbaticals and up to twelve weeks of Paid Family and Medical Leave for employees with at least six months of employment
  • Wellness initiatives, including on-site mindfulness meditation sessions; flexible time and remote work schedules; an employee assistance program; and a gym reimbursement program

    Your Professional Development

    The Vera Institute of Justice values staff members’ professional growth. Our commitment means we are constantly assessing how we can better provide additional opportunities for all Verans. It also recently led to the creation of the Learning & Development Manager position to specifically focus on improving engagement, retention, and learning opportunities among our staff. We are committed to listening to all Verans about their professional learning needs. Vera’s current slate of professional programs includes:

    • An Impact Pipeline where employees can
      receive funding to pilot their own projects
    • Manager development and individual
      contributor training
    • A fund devoted to supporting peer-to-peer
      collaboration
    • Three new discretionary funds devoted to
      leadership, racial equity, and the amplification
      of existing projects
    • $1,000 publication incentive awards
    • Conference registration fees and travel
    • In-house training with external facilitators, including The Management Center
    • A subscription to LinkedIn Learning

    Vera also encourages opportunities during and
    after work to strengthen bonds and create meaningful
    relationships. These include:

    • Affinity groups, where employees who
      share similar experiences, backgrounds, or
      identities can connect with one another for
      support, networking, or other resources
    • Monthly staff breakfasts
    • Coffee meetups
    • Happy hours
    • Brown bag learning opportunities

      Great Place to Work

      Great Place To Work Certified 2021 badge

      In 2020, Vera was named a Great Place To Work by an independent, third-party organization that uses surveys to measure workplace culture. To become Great Place to Work-Certified™, an organization must meet certain thresholds for employee satisfaction and trust. At Vera, 83 percent of employees who took the survey agreed that Vera was a great place to work (in comparison with 59 percent in typical companies).

      “In this moment, we have this massive system that requires change, and when the people who run these systems feel that pressure, their incentives shift. They know they have to deliver something different; they have to deliver justice and fairness in a way that they had never been called upon to do before. And when they get that call, they call the Vera Institute of Justice. That’s who they ask for help.”
      Nicholas Turner
      President & Director
      “Among the many reasons I chose Vera is the Institute’s explicit commitment to racial justice. I see our life’s work—mine and Vera’s—as a struggle against the structural racism that has plagued our democracy since its inception.”
      Jullian Harris-Calvin
      Director, Greater Justice New York
      "After a competitive search process, I was granted an internship with the Vera office in New Orleans over the summer of 2020. Even though our internships were remote, I was able to make the best of it while I discovered my role in reducing the damaging effects of mass incarceration. After the internship, I was honored with a full-time position to start off my career in criminal legal reform."
      Connor L. Burruss
      Data Analyst, NOLA
      Alumni
      We hire and develop talented individuals who go on to do great things. Here’s a look at a few:
      Terrell Blount
      Previously:
      Program Associate II, Center on Sentencing and Corrections
      Now:
      Program Officer of Higher Education in Prison, Laughing Gull Foundation
      Kelsey Reid
      Previously:
      Program Associate, Reshaping Prosecution
      Now:
      Class of 2023, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
      Celine Nehme
      Previously:
      Development Associate, Office of Development
      Now:
      Major Gifts Officer, Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC)
      Robert Ortiz
      Previously:
      Manager, People Resources Department
      Now:
      Human Resources Manager, ACLU