Fellow – Criminal Justice Policy

R Street Institute Fellow
Location Washington DC, United States
Application deadline 30 April 2021
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
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The R Street Institute—a free-market think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices across the country—seeks a motivated, organized fellow for our criminal justice and civil liberties team. If you are the right fit, you will report to the policy director of criminal justice & civil liberties. If you want to join an energetic organization and do something extraordinary, this may be just the opportunity you need.

The role

A typical day at R Street might include writing an op-ed on youth probation reform, conducting research for a white paper on alternatives to incarceration, preparing testimony for an upcoming state hearing and being interviewed on talk radio.

R Street runs one of the top criminal justice programs on the political right. Examples of policies we have supported include reforms of police agencies intended to make them more effective and community-oriented, measures that make it easier for justice-involved individuals to reintegrate into communities and juvenile justice reforms intended to return the system to its fundamentally rehabilitative roots. We expect candidates to agree with the thrust of our previous work in this area. However, there is no political or ideological litmus test, or need to agree with everything everyone at R Street has ever written.

Key roles and responsibilities

Other Aspects of Your Role:

  • Help conceive and oversee policy research projects that are high quality, highly credible and timely.
  • Write a mix of op-eds, testimony and policy papers to help solve difficult problems and translate complex ideas in criminal justice policy in a manner that connects with a center-right audience.
  • Collaboratively work to successfully execute quantitative and qualitative research related to policing, prosecutorial, pretrial, juvenile justice, community supervision and/or reentry policies within the U.S. criminal justice system.
  • Work with colleagues to support new business development opportunities related to your topic areas, including: the development of proposals, donor care and other meaningful business cultivation activities.
  • Work with the publications, government affairs and communications teams to identify and consistently engage with target audiences within your policy areas.
  • Adapt policy, engagement and communication strategies in a quick-changing legislative landscape.
  • Oversee quality control activities for specific projects, including ensuring the accuracy of data management, analysis and reporting.
  • Serve as an inclusive, transparent leader who engages in authentic dialogue around issues of race and equity and seeks to build and grow a diverse body of work.
  • Plan, attend and speak at events and convenings (virtually until further notice).
  • Collaborate with internal and external scholars to move the policy conversation forward.

Experience and skills

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Four years of demonstrated experience in the criminal justice field either as a practitioner (e.g. police officer, prosecutor, probation officer, correctional officer, public defender), academic researcher or as a public policy scholar. We understand that relevant experience may come in many forms including life experiences and, if your experience is not evident from your resume, please do note it in your cover letter.
  • Demonstrated ability and willingness to speak in public and present on complex issues.
  • Excellent writing ability, ideally as demonstrated by a record of published work on criminal justice topics.
  • Ability to synthesize complex academic/technical literature for a policy audience.
  • Ability to work productively with a wide variety of groups and individuals including those with whom you may disagree.
  • Entrepreneurial attitude and willingness to be a self-starter.
  • No particular educational background is required: proven ability to achieve results is far more important than credentials.
  • Aligned with our mission of supporting free markets and limited, effective government.
  • A sense of humor and a desire to grow with a dynamic organization.

Other useful information


R Street offers a flexible working arrangement. This is a full-time position consistent with any other work that requires regular hours that can either work in our D.C. office or be remote. When it is safe to do so, this person will attend in-person meetings, conferences and events in Washington, D.C. and travel throughout the United States.

Compensation, Benefits and Perks

R Street strives to provide a compensation package superior to those at other think tanks and nonprofits. In addition to a competitive salary, we provide the following benefits and perks:

  • Unlimited paid time off policy, including all federal holidays, the day after Thanksgiving and two weeks holiday closure in December;
  • Alternating Fridays off;
  • A health insurance option entirely paid by the employer (even for families);
  • Dental and vision insurance;
  • 401(k) contributions with up to a 4 percent match;
  • HSA employer contribution match;
  • Quarterly wellness reimbursement;
  • Mobile equipment reimbursement;
  • Internet subsidy;
  • Monthly mobile plan reimbursement;
  • Annual educational and professional development reimbursement; and
  • An option between child care assistance, pet care assistance or student loan repayment assistance reimbursement.

R Street does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, era of military service, gender identity or anything else that’s illegal, immoral or stupid to use as a basis for hiring.

We currently plan to accept applications for this job until filled. We will contact qualified individuals for telephone interviews and conduct them on a rolling basis. Due to COVID-19, we will hold interviews virtually, via Zoom, until our D.C. office reopens.

To apply, you must upload a cover letter and resume in Microsoft Word or PDF format.