Deputy Director (CSJ-08)

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Sep 14, 2018
Full time Legal

Job Description

Deputy Director [CSJ-08], Campaign for Smart Justice, NY

Office:  National Offices, New York, NY

Location:  New York

SEPTEMBER 13, 2018


Deputy Director [CSJ-08]

American Civil Liberties Union

Campaign for Smart Justice

National Political Advocacy Department, NY


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, 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 fights to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than 1.8 million members, 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 or record of arrest or conviction.



With 2.3 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 machine of mass incarceration severely limits the ability of people, disproportionately Black people and other people of color, from participating in the social, political and economic life of this country.

The ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice is committed to realizing a new criminal justice system – one that is substantially smaller than its current size while also keeping communities safe, advancing racial justice, treating people fairly, and using fiscal resources wisely. The ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice 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. The Campaign is committed to advancing both decarceration and challenging racism, and to centering the leadership and voices of directly impacted people.  The issue of mass incarceration is ripe for bipartisan involvement, and the ACLU works collaboratively with groups across the political spectrum to achieve our goal of ending mass incarceration.

Working in close partnership with ACLU affiliates, state and national coalition partners, and in particular, communities impacted by the criminal justice system, the Deputy Director of Public Engagement will work with the Campaign Director to lead a nationwide team in developing and executing state-based campaigns to reform the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on engaging directly impacted community members and allies in this movement for reform. The multi-disciplinary campaign team will include expertise in legislative and ballot campaigns, community organizing, campaign and coalition building, strategic communications, research, electoral strategies and criminal justice policy.  The role will report to the Director of the Campaign. The ideal candidate will be someone who has personal experience with the criminal justice system, and experience in movement building, organizing and coalition building, as well as a track record of strategic development of long-term advocacy plans.



  • Work with the Campaign team, in close collaboration with ACLU affiliates and other national ACLU staff, to plan and implement a 50-state strategy to end mass incarceration in the United States
  • Represent the Campaign and ACLU to the public, through speaking events, media work, affiliate presentations, conferences, panels, summits and speeches aimed at promoting the campaign and building the movement to end mass incarceration
  • Expand and manage the ACLU’s work to center the leadership and voices of formerly incarcerated and other directly impacted individuals to build a powerful movement to end mass incarceration
  • Manage the successful completion of objectives of the national and state-based campaign staff, and assess the progress toward meeting objectives, provide feedback and direction as needed
  • Oversee the Campaign’s work to build institutional and organizational support and culture for recruiting, hiring, training, supporting and building formerly incarcerated and other directly impacted leaders within the ACLU
  • Collaborate with ACLU affiliates and colleagues in the national ACLU to enhance and embolden the ACLU’s political, organizing, and coalition building advocacy
  • Assist in hiring national and state-based Campaign staff and consultants to execute and implement strategy
  • Organize Smart Justice Campaign events and implement strategies to educate and mobilize the public on the campaign’s goals and work
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, socio-economic circumstance, and record of arrest or conviction
  • Commit to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts
  • Represent the ACLU in national coalitions
  • Develop relationships with funders, researchers, policymakers, academics, and members of the media
  • Lobby local, state, and federal lawmakers



  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of experience developing and  leading community organizing, legislative advocacy, political, electoral, and/or issue campaigns
  • Personal experience being incarcerated , or in other ways entangled with the criminal justice system, preferred
  • Experience working with communities of color in building movements for social change
  • Experience applying an expansive toolbox of strategies including community organizing, coalition building, paid and earned media, online activism, and message development, to move decision-makers
  • Experience in building and successfully managing coalitions
  • Experience and success in leading legislative or organizing campaigns
  • Experience and success in managing and motivating a team to achieve short-term and long-term goals
  • Excellent communications skills, including public presentation skills, meeting facilitation skills, and strong media relations skills
  • Passion for and commitment to decarceration and racial justice required
  • Strong writing skills, including ensuring reports and other public communications are written in a clear and cogent manner
  • Proven track record of working collaboratively with colleagues across departments and functions
  • Willingness to travel, as needed



The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.



Please send a cover letter and resume to  -  Reference  [CSJ-08 - Deputy Director of Public Engagement/ACLU-W]  in the subject line.  Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to the Campaign for Smart Justice posting. In order to ensure your application is received, please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address.


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 job description and or posting at any time without advance notice.

The 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, or record of arrest or conviction.

The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact:  Correspondence sent to this email address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed. Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

The Department of Education has determined that employment in this position at the ACLU does not qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”




The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.