Position Description

Director of the Center for Criminal Justice Research
Location New York, NY; Oakland or Los Angeles, CA; Washington DC
Job Code 2021-13
# of Openings 1
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About MDRC:

MDRC’s mission is to conduct primary research to identify public policies and program services that improve the lives of low-income individuals, families, and children. We not only carry out the research but also strive to make sure policymakers and practitioners understand and can use our research findings. MDRC designs promising new interventions, studies existing programs, and provides technical assistance to help practitioners build better programs. With an annual budget of about $100 million, a staff of more than 300 people, and offices in New York City, Oakland, Washington, and Los Angeles, MDRC seeks to provide reliable, nonpartisan evidence to its public and private partners. We constantly seek ways to do our work better, including designing new tools to help partner organizations improve their programs and pioneering new quantitative and qualitative research methods.

MDRC’s portfolio comprises many policy areas, which include research Centers. The Center for Criminal Justice Research has included studies of reentry programs for individuals being released from prison to help improve employment and reduce additional contact with the criminal justice system, a parole-based intervention to improve the practices of community supervision officers, services to improve the life trajectories of youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and analyses of county and state pretrial reforms designed to reduce the use of cash bail and the number of individuals who spend time in jail while awaiting trial.

You can find more information on MDRC at www.mdrc.org and the Center for Criminal Justice Research here.

About the Opportunity:

MDRC is at the forefront of research on reforms to the criminal justice system. We are leading efforts to develop new methods to study program implementation and impacts, such as predictive analytics and rapid cycle testing to refine and develop interventions. As a key member of the senior leadership team, the Director of the Center for Criminal Justice Research will direct the development and execution of MDRC’s efforts to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

The Director will have a vision for guiding the Center for Criminal Justice Research’s future research and technical assistance efforts, be able to speak knowledgeably with experts and lay people about the criminal justice system and possible reforms, and be familiar with philanthropic and government funders. The individual must have a track record of working collaboratively across an organization, ensuring high-quality work that is on time and on budget, and being comfortable in a mission-driven research organization that values data and evidence-based decision-making.

What You Will Accomplish:

Organizational Leadership

  • Collaboratively design and direct MDRC’s plans for developing criminal justice projects, working with staff to identify contributions we wish to make to policy and research, desired types of projects, ways to develop new projects, and plans to communicate with the field about our work
  • Serve on MDRC’s senior leadership team, which addresses major strategic issues facing the organization
  • Bring knowledge of the criminal justice system to MDRC’s work in other policy areas by reviewing their strategic plans and serving as a reviewer on related projects

Thought Leadership

  • Collaborate with national and local criminal justice agencies, policymakers, and community-based organizations to answer pressing questions
  • Strengthen the ways in which MDRC incorporates the voices of individuals who are directly affected by the system and develop and apply a racial equity lens to our criminal justice work
  • Grow the staff’s knowledge about the criminal justice system across the organization

Business Development & Fundraising

  • Identify and develop new research opportunities for the Center to expand current work and add other relevant areas, including systemic and cultural change in how jurisdictions approach criminal justice reform, an area highlighted by our work on pretrial reforms
  • In partnership with the fundraising team, support fundraising from public and private sources by cultivating contacts in the field

Team Management

  • Build a team culture centered around diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracist practices
  • Support the development of the Center for Criminal Justice Research team, including providing opportunities for staff to develop their skills, reviewing their performance, and helping them advance in their careers

Key Qualifications:

  • Fifteen plus years experience working within and demonstrating significant knowledge about the criminal justice system as a researcher, practitioner, policymaker, advocate, or lawyer
  • Extensive experience building external partnerships to drive new business and secure new revenue
  • Experience leading teams with a collaborative and inclusive approach
  • Understanding of DEI and antiracism frameworks
  • Understanding and appreciation for research methodologies

To Apply:

This search is being managed by Axis Talent Partners, a talent strategy and search firm that partners with social impact organizations. Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter detailing their qualifications for the position and their interest in MDRC’s mission specifically to: https://axistalentpartners.applytojob.com/apply

MDRC is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. MDRC does not discriminate, and all qualified applications will receive consideration without regard to race; color; national origin; religion; creed; sex or gender (including sex stereotyping and gender identity or expression); sexual orientation; citizenship status; pregnancy; disability; age; military or veteran status; marital or partnership status; genetic information, genetic predisposition or carrier status; prior unemployment status; consumer credit history; status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking; or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. Legal work authorization is required. To request a reasonable accommodation during any stage of MDRC's employment process due to a disability, please contact devyn@axistalentpartners.com.

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