The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that combines expertise in research, technical assistance, and demonstration projects to assist leaders in government and civil society examine justice policy and practice, and improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, and its projects and reform initiatives, typically conducted in partnership with local, state, or national officials, are located across the United States and around the world. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.
Vera’s Substance Use and Mental Health Program (SUMH) conducts applied research and provides technical assistance to help public officials and community organizations develop empirically driven responses to the substance use and mental health needs of people involved in justice systems. SUMH staff collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data and evaluate existing programs to understand the experiences of those affected by psychiatric disorders or substance use and policies that prolong their involvement in the justice system.
SUMH seeks an enthusiastic and motivated individual as an intern on a new study of the relationships between defendants with mental health disorders and the public defenders appointed to represent them. This internship will commence in August 2013 and will require a 2-3 day commitment per week for 9-12 months.
This intern will be responsible for conducting semi-structured interviews in jail settings with people who have mental health disorders. The majority of these interviews will be conducted in New York City jail facilities, but, when necessary, researchers may also meet individuals for follow-up interviews in the community. Responsibilities may also include interview data entry, as well as data cleaning and coding.
Applicants must be graduate students, pursuing a degree in social work, psychology, sociology, public health, public policy or a closely related discipline. The ideal candidate will have experience conducting research interviews in the areas of criminal justice, mental health, and substance use and/or treatment services. Individuals with direct experience working with people with behavioral health needs and individuals with a background in social work are strongly encouraged to apply, as are individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience, particularly those relevant to Vera’s areas of work.
Position requirements include:
• Enrollment in a graduate level program;
• Research training and experience conducting social science research, particularly in applied settings;
• An understanding of the mental health and substance use needs of diverse populations;
• Experience working with people with behavioral health disorders, either in a research capacity or as a direct service provider or training in this area;
• Fluency in Spanish;
• Ability to work in a jail setting with minimal supervision;
• Willingness to travel.
Preferred skills and qualifications include:
• Experience working with justice-system involved populations or in justice settings;
• Previous work experience in mental health, substance use, criminal justice, or related fields;
• Experience with research interviewing and qualitative research methods, including focus groups and/or interviews with vulnerable populations, high-level government agency administrators and line staff, service providers and leaders of community-based organizations;
• Clinical training or experience in direct service.
Prospective interns are encouraged to seek independent funding either through an accredited four-year institution, or through fellowship grants or internship programs. Additionally, interns are encouraged to seek credit from their graduate institution. Interns will receive a wage of $10 an hour or course credit when applicable.
Please submit a cover letter and resume online.
Online application is preferred, however, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to
ATTN: Human Resources / SUMH J Research Internship
Vera Institute of Justice
233 Broadway, 12th Flr.
New York, NY 10279
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method of submission (online, mail, or fax). Please do not email your resume directly to a staff member. No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
The Vera Institute of Justice values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer.