Staff Attorney – Bail Reform [CLRP-26]
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
Trone Center for Justice and Equality, New York City
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, advancing racial justice, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than one million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.
The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking a full-time Staff Attorney, who will work in the Trone Center for Justice and Equality (Trone Center), specifically in the Criminal Law Reform Project (CLRP), but also with the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice (CSJ) and the various other projects/programs in the Trone Center to develop, pursue, and conduct litigation aimed at bail reform in America. This position is based in New York City.
The ACLU’s Trone Center focuses on America’s issues around crime, punishment, and racial justice. There is a growing consensus among criminal justice experts and policymakers that America’s criminal justice system has relied too heavily on incarceration as the first and often only response to behavior that could better be addressed through other means. The issues of race and class permeate the entire criminal justice system, and today robust discussions about race in America are bringing issues of racial justice into the spotlight. This is a critical time in the fight to advance racial justice and to truly reform the criminal justice system. The Trone Center contains four Projects/Programs working towards these goals: the Capital Punishment Project, the National Prison Project, the Racial Justice Program, and the Criminal Law Reform Project.
The ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice (CSJ) is committed to a 50 percent reduction in the nation’s jail and prison populations and to challenging racial disparities in the criminal justice system. With 2.2 million people behind bars in this country, the United States has earned the disgraceful distinction of being the world’s largest jailer. The nation’s system of mass incarceration severely limits the ability of people, disproportionately people of color, from participating in the social, political, and economic life of this country. The CSJ works with partners to build a movement for social change and win state-based reforms needed to cut the size of our nation’s incarcerated population by 50 percent.
Bail reform will be a major step toward the 50 percent reduction in the jail population. At any given time, pretrial detention jails nearly half a million people who have not been convicted of a crime, fuels over-incarceration by inducing guilty pleas, causes people to lose jobs and housing, and subjects them to longer sentences, along with physical and financial damage. The outcome of widespread pretrial detention ruins individuals’ lives, harms whole families, and has a negative impact on whole communities. All too often, people are detained solely due to their inability to pay a bail bond. Such wealth-based detention reproduces the structural racism already embedded in the criminal justice system.
The strategic approach of the CSJ work on bail will be to aggressively pursue reform work that frees a significant number of people who would otherwise be detained under existing pretrial systems (without a significant increase in surveillance of people released). The Staff Attorney will work directly with the CSJ bail reform team, which will lead legislative campaigns for bail reform and advocacy with state policymakers who have rule making authority in this area, and with the various Projects/Programs in the Trone Center.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Staff Attorney will work closely with the CSJ bail reform team and others working in the Trone Center to develop and execute a plan for bail reform litigation. In collaboration with the working group, specific responsibilities will include but not be limited to:
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
Applicants should possess the following qualifications:
The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.
HOW TO APPLY
Please send a cover letter, current resume, the names and contact information of three references, and at least one legal writing sample by email to: email to: hrjobsCLRP@aclu.org. Reference [CLRP-26/ACLU] in the subject line.
Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.
ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction.
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