Georgia Justice Project (GJP) is seeking a Policy Director. Following two recent policy successes – SB 288, which expanded expungement of convictions and SB 105, which allows individuals on probation to terminate their sentence after three years if certain criteria are met – GJP seeks to expand our policy team. GJP has two overarching goals for our statewide policy advocacy (and of all our work): reducing the number of Georgians under correctional control and reducing barriers to reentry. It is an exciting time at GJP as we develop plans to increase the impact of our work and ensure successful implementation of SB 288 and SB 105, and we are looking for a creative and persuasive advocate to join our collaborative and committed staff.
GJP is a 35-year-old non-profit located in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. Our work spans three areas: Holistic Criminal Defense and Probation Representation; Advocacy and Outreach; and Reentry Lawyering including Criminal Records. You can read more about our work at www.GJP.org. GJP is funded through private donations and currently has 26 staff members including lawyers, social workers, legal assistants, and development and administrative staff.
The Policy Director will lead GJP’s policy team. The Policy Director is responsible for working with the Executive Director and Legal Director to develop and implement GJP’s policy agenda, which includes spearheading working group coalitions, drafting legislation, building consensus among stakeholders, and communicating with legislators and other constituents about GJP’s work. An ideal candidate will be well acquainted with the Georgia political landscape and with the issues and politics of criminal justice reform. This position requires working with legislators, policy makers, administrative agencies, and varied collaborating organizations. Candidates should bring a passion for the GJP’s mission, a strong desire to eliminate systemic racism in Georgia’s criminal legal system, and an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.
The ideal candidate will have a track record of successfully advocating for policy change at the state level; have strong research and writing skills; have experience drafting legislation; and bring experience working with diverse stakeholders, including directly impacted people, legislators, community advocates, government agencies, and employers. We are open to a non-attorney for this position, but legislative research and drafting experience in a professional environment are essential for non-attorney candidates.
- Develop policy goals in collaboration with GJP leadership. Create a strategic plan to implement the policy goals and weekly plans of action for the policy team.
- Research issues related to policy goals – legal and strategy research. Translate research into policy briefs and other materials intended for multiple audiences. Draft talking points on individual topics to advance the policy goals.
- Lobby during the legislative session. Draft legislation; prepare and deliver testimony; attend and advocate in legislative committees, taskforces, and working groups; and identify opportunities for bipartisan support on GJP’s issues. Track and analyze legislation that affects GJP’s direct service work.
- Lead the policy team through direct supervision of work activities, delegation of project tasks, and coordination of external partnerships.
- Engage with a network of public officials, private stakeholders, and community groups to present GJPs work and build strategic support for policy agenda. Cultivate relationships and build coalitions, work in partnership with varied and diverse constituents.
- Assist with planning and execution of implementation plans for new legislation, working with state agencies where necessary.
- Collaborate with Communications Manager to develop press releases and social media content. Respond to media requests on policy issues and speaking at events and webinars.
- J.D. or Masters degree in Public Policy
- 5 years of relevant experience in political, legislative, or criminal justice policy related work
- Knowledge about any of the subject areas on GJP’s current policy agenda: driver’s licenses, occupational licensing, expungement, probation, and child support
- A demonstrated commitment to social and racial justice and an understanding of how poverty and race factor into the criminal legal system
- Enthusiasm and energy for the difficult work of challenging and reforming the criminal legal system
- Ability to engage respectfully with diverse groups of stakeholders
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- The ability to effectively manage the multiple policy goals and fast pace of a non-profit workplace
- Ability to work occasional evenings or weekends for special events or speaking engagements, occasional travel
- Valid driver’s license
- Experience working collaboratively in coalitions; ability to take a leadership role in coalitions, including developing shared plans, coordinating external and internal communications, and navigating dynamics among partner groups across the political spectrum
- Ability to distill complex issues into accessible language in talking points for legislators, stakeholders, and public. Ability to organize information persuasively for multiple audiences
- Research and analytical abilities with the experience and skills to conceptualize, coordinate, and implement policy initiatives
- Public speaking experience to diverse groups of stakeholders
- Demonstrated ability to prioritize multiple assignments and to work both independently and as part of a team
Interested candidates should send a cover letter addressed to GJP’s legal director Brenda Smeeton, resume, and brief writing sample (no more than ten pages, ideal samples would include a portion of a legislative research or analysis memo and a communications piece such as a brochure or op ed) combined as a single PDF document to careers@GJP.org. Subject line must state, “Policy Director Position”. Compensation commensurate with experience and the non-profit environment. We will review application materials on a rolling basis until the position is filled and encourage applicants to submit their materials as soon as possible.
Georgia Justice Project is an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a diverse staff and welcomes qualified applicants of all races, colors, religions, national origins, sexes, gender identities, sexual orientations, and disability statuses. GJP particularly encourages people who are formerly incarcerated or justice-involved to apply.