Policy Strategist / Senior Policy Strategist, Justice Program

Washington, DC
Full Time
Mid Level

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Brennan Center’s work ranges from voting rights to court reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving constitutional protections in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies and legal arguments. And we fight for them—in the courts, in Congress and the states, and in the court of public opinion.  

The Brennan Center’s Justice Program aims to secure our nation’s promise of “equal justice for all” by tackling racial disparities and economic injustice, promoting a dignity-centered approach to crime and punishment, and creating a rational, effective, and fair justice system. Its priority focus is to reform the criminal legal system to shrink reliance on mass incarceration and mitigate its pernicious effects. 

Position Overview: 
The Justice Program is seeking a full-time Policy Strategist or Senior Policy Strategist to join a cutting-edge, inter-disciplinary team working to create innovative, data-driven solutions to end mass incarceration while advancing racial and economic justice. This role will advance the team’s work by educating policymakers and the public about research on public safety and criminal justice reform and building support for our policy solutions. This is a signal moment in our field. Crime and punishment are front and center in the national political debate. Leaders from across the political spectrum agree on the need for bold solutions but must adapt their strategies and policies to confront a challenging political environment. The Policy Strategist or Senior Policy Strategist will also contribute to other projects for the Justice Program as needed. 

This position is intended for individuals interested in working with a broad, bipartisan array of external stakeholders committed to the shared goal of building a fairer and more just criminal justice system. The candidate will join a thriving organization at the heart of the fight for democracy and justice. The Center’s culture is intellectually stimulating and collegial, committed to fostering the professional development of its employees.  

Note: Brennan Center employees adhere to a hybrid schedule that is subject to change, with employees currently required to work in the office a minimum of three days per week, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. While most employees follow this in-person schedule, there may be some positions that require additional in-office days. This position is based in our Washington, D.C. office. 


  • Advance the execution of strategic advocacy for the Justice Program’s policy priorities at the federal and state level. 

  • Meet regularly with government officials and staff in Congress and Executive Branch agencies to elevate the Brennan Center’s policy research and advocacy priorities and build relationships. Pursue similar relationship-building work in key states, as needed.  

  • Work with the Justice Program team to organize briefings, public conversations, and other events that educate policymakers, the broader public, and the media about issues related to shrinking the size and scope of the justice system, advancing racial and economic justice, and making the criminal justice system more humane. 

  • Coordinate with the Brennan Center’s law enforcement coalition, Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, to elevate the voices of reform-oriented corrections, police, and prosecutorial leaders in the bipartisan criminal justice reform movement. 

  • Work closely with the Justice Program team to execute legislative campaigns aimed at decisionmakers in Congress and key state legislatures, including playing a role in helping to draft and disseminate letters of support, op-eds, and other press documents, and spearheading outreach to policymakers and coalition allies. 

  • Build and maintain strategic partnerships with stakeholders and organizations across the political spectrum, at the national and state levels, while fostering collaborations to advance shared policy priorities. 

  • Monitor legislation, hearings, and other developments as they pertain to justice system issues, maintaining regular contact with key legislative offices. 

  • Collaborate with the Brennan Center’s communications team to amplify the justice program’s work and strategically target relevant audiences. 

  • Other projects and duties as relevant. 


  • At least three years of experience leading work on federal policy and legislative issues, preferably as a staff member on Capitol Hill or in an Executive Branch agency. 

  • Strong understanding of federal political and policy processes. Experience and understanding of state policy dynamics, especially in New York, is a plus.  

  • Interest in and commitment to working with stakeholders across the political spectrum, including law enforcement professionals, business and faith leaders, as well as progressive and conservative policy organizations.  

  • Bachelor’s degree and at least five years of relevant work experience are required. Candidates with a master’s, law, or other post-graduate degree are also strongly encouraged to apply. 

  • Strong writing and research skills, including the ability to succinctly translate technical information into accessible language for different audiences. 

  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and a passion for building relationships with people with different skills, areas of expertise, and political commitments.  

  • Excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, self-reliance, and strong work ethic. 

  • Drive and ability to take initiative, anticipate needs and solve problems, identify opportunities, and complete tasks and projects with a high degree of focus and independence.  

  • Ability to manage time and successfully multitask in a deadline-driven environment. 

  • Knowledge of criminal justice system-related policies and current political landscape. 

  • Openness to receiving and implementing feedback, and to accepting direction from organizational management. 

The Brennan Center is committed to advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. We continuously work with our staff to find new ways to increase diversity and to build and cultivate an inclusive and equitable work environment, where everyone can be their true self and feel a strong sense of belonging. As such, we seek to hire employees who have a commitment to and/or experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, we expect employees to participate/contribute with DEI initiatives or activities with recruitment, retention, and workplace culture.     

Applications: To apply, please visit <<this link>> and upload the following documents: (1) a cover letter, (2) resume, (3) writing sample (up to 10 pages), and (4) contact information for three references. If applicable, include internet hyperlinks to authored writing samples. If applicable, please include Internet hyperlinks to authored writing. Applications without all listed materials will not be considered. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made as soon as an appropriate candidate is identified. We prefer applications be submitted through our website. If you have difficulty uploading these items, email [email protected] with “Policy Strategist / Senior Policy Strategist” in the subject line.  

Compensation and Benefits: 

The position title (Policy Strategist or Senior Policy Strategist) will be determined based experience. The salary range is $84,000-$120,000 and has been determined based on market competitiveness and internal equity for each job. The salary offered a selected candidate will be contingent upon the candidate’s experience, title offered (Policy Strategist or Senior Policy Strategist), qualifications and internal equity considerations.  Additionally, we offer a very robust and competitive array of benefits such as a generous time off program, 401k plan, comprehensive health insurance (medical, dental, and vision), and wellness and office perks. 

In addition, this position is part of a bargaining unit represented by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW local 2320. 

Note: The Brennan Center is committed to public health and to the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and visitors.  As such, we have adopted a policy requiring all employees working in the New York and Washington, DC offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including having a booster, or to meet the legal guidelines for an exemption​​. 

The Brennan Center for Justice is committed to a workplace based on equal opportunity and a strong belief in the increased effectiveness that comes from a diverse workforce. To this end, Brennan Center

  • Welcomes applicants with disabilities and applicants of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, socioeconomic identities, sexual orientations, and national origin or citizenship, including people who have been previously incarcerated;
  • Hires diverse candidates and works to improve our recruitment practices to allow for such
  • Creates a workplace where true diversity is fostered and different perspectives are valued and freely exchanged;
  • Ensures that all members of the Brennan Center community feel welcome and respected, and have equal opportunities to thrive and advance within the institution; and
  • Is committed to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by social inequities.

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