- Advocacy & Policy Counsel , USA

Advocacy & Policy Counsel [CSJ-05]


American Civil Liberties Union


Campaign for Smart Justice, New York, 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 cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a 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 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 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 racial justice.  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.


The Advocacy & Policy Counsel is a key part of the ACLU’s national Campaign for Smart Justice team and will help lead campaign-oriented nationwide advocacy to advance state legislative and policy initiatives aimed at ending mass incarceration in the United States. This includes mandatory minimum, habitual offender, truth-in-sentencing, bail, parole, violent offense, and prosecutorial reforms. The Advocacy & Policy Counsel will work closely with the Campaign leadership team, as well as organizers, lobbyists, communications staff, litigators, and others at ACLU affiliate offices and with partners throughout the country.


The Advocacy & Policy Counsel is a non-litigating attorney position for a lawyer with exceptional analytical and writing abilities. Work will include leading the Campaign’s efforts in analyzing and drafting state legislation and legislative amendments, preparing advocacy and public education materials, researching legal and policy issues related to state legislation, and strategizing decarceration advocacy opportunities. The Advocacy & Policy Counsel position is based in the Campaign for Smart Justice’s New York City headquarters and is supervised by the Deputy Director of the Campaign.




Monitor, research, and analyze opportunities for decarceration in states and localities across the country.

Draft and analyze legislation.

Draft policy analyses designed to effect change by state policymakers.

Conduct research on proposed state legislation and policy initiatives.

Develop and produce advocacy and public education tools, including reports and briefers, for use by the Campaign.

Work with ACLU affiliates in setting policy goals and developing strategies to achieve decarceration outcomes.

Provide policy support to priority ACLU affiliate offices engaged in decarceration advocacy campaigns.

Identify analytical and research needs to support the Campaign’s policy goals.

Facilitate intra-organizational working groups oriented around key Campaign policy priorities.

Represent the ACLU in national coalitions and develop relationships with allies and other organizations to further advocacy goals.

Help supervise, mentor, and guide the work of the Campaign’s Policy Counsel.

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 and socio-economic circumstance, record of arrest or conviction.

Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.




A JD degree and a minimum of five years of experience working in criminal justice policy advocacy.

Personal experience being incarcerated or in other ways entangled with the criminal justice system, preferred.

Strong familiarity with the criminal justice system and with public policy and legislative processes.

Exceptional ability to conduct legal and policy analysis and research.

Ability to work independently as well as within a team.

Excellent research, writing, analytical, and communication skills.

Ability to communicate complex legal issues to the general public.

Ability to simultaneously handle multiple tasks, work efficiently and quickly, and meet deadlines, while remaining composed under pressure.

Passion for and demonstrated commitment to criminal justice reform and racial justice.

Willingness to travel.

Commitment to mission of the ACLU.




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, resume and a relevant writing sample to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - reference CSJ-05/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.


Job posted on May 15 2018

Please mention Political Jobs when applying to this position