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Research and Policy Associate
The ACLU of Colorado is a nonpartisan, non-profit public interest organization devoted to protecting and extending civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU advances its goals through legal and legislative advocacy, media and public awareness efforts, information and training, membership mobilization, and coalition work. Its staff and volunteers work in a fast-paced, friendly, and professional office.
The ACLU increasingly advances its work using an integrated advocacy model, which involves utilizing all of the ACLU’s varied resources and strategies –litigation, legal advocacy, policy initiatives, communication strategies, community organizing and public education – to most effectively achieve specific civil liberties goals. The Research and Policy Associate will be at the center of the ACLU’s integrated advocacy work. The Associate will work in the ACLU-CO Legal Department and will collaborate closely with the Public Policy Department. The Associate will perform in-depth research aimed at understanding and addressing important and emerging civil liberties issues, with a primary focus on criminal justice reform. Likely areas of research include mass incarceration, criminalization of homelessness and poverty, solitary confinement, and racially-biased police practices. The Associate’s work product – which may include memoranda, white papers, reports, data compilations and analysis, client profiles, blogs, and more – will assist in legal advocacy, development of legislation, policy initiatives and campaigns, public education efforts, media messaging, and possibly legal cases. The Associate will play a central role in helping the ACLU determine which tactical approaches and strategies will best address the policy goals of the organization. This position provides the opportunity to collaborate closely with virtually every member of the ACLU’s dynamic staff.
• Engage in in-depth research on a range of civil liberties issues, with a particular focus on criminal justice.
• Help devise ACLU strategy for investigating and addressing the identified issues.
• Draft, file and follow-up on requests for public documents under the Colorado open records laws. This will require extensive communication with multiple government agencies. Requests may be aimed at understanding the policies and practices of such criminal justice actors as police, sheriffs, courts, jails and prisons, as well as the application of those policies to the cases of specific individuals.
• Review and analyze documents, including open records responses; extract, organize, and analyze information gleaned from those documents, such as records of law enforcement agencies, courts, jails, and prisons. Analysis will range from factual summaries regarding specific individuals to reports describing patterns of civil liberties violations, and will sometimes require the Associate to create spread sheets compiling and reflecting data collected.
• Contact and interview potential ACLU clients, witnesses, or other individuals affected by the civil liberties issues being researched
• Research issues related to proposed legislation as requested by the Public Policy Director.
• Gather and provide raw data to data analysis experts and work closely with them to create memos and reports.
• Research and understand Colorado statutory schemes related to criminal justice and incarceration issues and make recommendations for improvement. Such research would likely include analysis of the actual statute, as well as meeting with experts to understand how the statutory scheme works in practice. Research may also include interviews with, and open records requests regarding, specific individuals subjected to that statutory scheme. Finally, the research may require studying successful alternative legislative and policy approaches taken by other states.
• Represent ACLU in certain coalitions related to specific issues being researched.
• Supervise one or more interns, who will assist with research tasks
• Other duties as assigned.
• Bachelor of Arts degree
• One or more of the following::
o minimum of two years’ experience in research and investigation to support legal or policy initiatives;
o minimum of two years’ experience as an investigative reporter;
o Master’s degree in a related field, such as Criminology, Sociology, Criminal Justice, Community Development, Political Science, Public Policy, Urban Studies, Urban or Regional Planning, Ethnic Studies, Statistics, or Human Geography
• Education or work experience related to civil liberties, criminal justice, and/or non-profit advocacy a significant plus
• Experience with and understanding of research methodologies and methods
• Excellent interviewing skills, including the ability to connect and interact with a diverse array of people
• Excellent writing, verbal, analytical, and interpersonal skills
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team, often under pressure.
• Ability to keep organized in a fast-paced environment, manage several projects simultaneously, and adjust to frequently changing demands
• Creative, flexible, result-oriented, self-starter, who is willing to learn
• A demonstrated commitment to civil liberties and civil rights, as well as to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance
• Strong facility with Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office, including Excel. Knowledge of Microsoft Access a plus
• Some experience with data collection, organization and compilation, as well as statistical analysis, a strong plus
• Spanish language skills a plus but not required
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:
Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU of Colorado compensation scale. Excellent benefits package provided, including medical and dental insurance, paid vacation and personal days, 401(k) with matching contribution, life and long-term disability insurance.
Send a cover letter, resume, three professional references and writing sample to: Jobs@aclu-co.org. Please put “Research and Policy Associate” and your name in the subject line. No phone calls, please.
We will begin reviewing applications on Sept. 25th, and will continue considering candidates until the position is filled.
ACLU of Colorado
303 E. 17th Avenue, Suite 350
Denver, CO 80203
The ACLU of Colorado is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from all qualified persons including women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals.