The ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) seeks a Jails Conditions and Policy Advocate to focus on criminal justice issues, including working on the following: (1) voter registration inside county jails; (2) conditions in county jails; (3) sheriff accountability; and (4) the rights of people who are incarcerated. This position will focus approximately 75% of the time on Los Angeles County and 25% of the time on Orange County.
Founded in 1923, the ACLU SoCal has been at the forefront of many major efforts to protect civil liberties, civil rights, and equal justice in California. Principled and nonpartisan, the ACLU SoCal has offices in Los Angeles, Orange County (Santa Ana), the Inland Empire (San Bernardino), and Kern County (Bakersfield). The ACLU SoCal tackles a vast array of issues, including criminal justice, police practices, First Amendment rights, gender equity and reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrants’ rights, education equity, and economic justice.
The Jails Conditions and Policy Advocate (“Advocate”) will advance the ACLU SoCal’s work on criminal justice, including jail conditions and policy, through campaigns for policy change and legislation, community organizing and engagement, and public education. Specifically, the Advocate may help with the ACLU SoCal’s involvement in work around conditions in Los Angeles County and Orange County jails, campaigns around sheriff accountability, and access to registration and voting for people who are incarcerated.
The Advocate will rely on a strong commitment to the ACLU SoCal’s mission of advancing rights for people who are incarcerated and an ability to work well with people who have experienced trauma. The Advocate will be supervised by the Director of Criminal Justice and will be part of the Criminal Justice team within the ACLU SoCal Advocacy Department as well as the ACLU of California’s Criminal Justice Team. The Advocate will work closely with other staff at the ACLU SoCal, as well as staff in other ACLU offices in California.
Temporary, Full-Time, Term-Limited
Voter Registration inside the Jails
The Jails Conditions and Policy Advocate will help develop and execute an in-jails voter registration campaign. Responsibilities will include the following:
- Engage with and help build an active base of advocates who will volunteer to register people to vote.
- Help create a volunteer leadership development process that empowers the community and builds our relationships with community organizations, faith leaders, business leaders, donors, and others to advance voter registration work in California jails.
- Help develop and provide voter registration trainings.
- Work with our Activist Engagement team to identify, recruit, and train ACLU members to participate in campaign actions.
- Help investigate and evaluate conditions in Los Angeles County and Orange County jails by interviewing people who are incarcerated, witnesses to critical incidents, and impacted families.
- Collect personal, witness, and civilian narratives and declarations for filing potential lawsuit(s) or advocacy opportunities.
- Help conduct research and writing about county jail-related issues to support advocacy, legislative, and litigation efforts.
- Join meetings with various stakeholders including incarcerated people, impacted families, county officials, and law enforcement.
Policy Advocacy and Organizing
- Develop strategic partnerships with organizations working on jails policy issues in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
- Potentially help plan and execute grassroots and policy advocacy campaigns to effect changes at the local and state levels through legislation, changes in government policy, and ballot measures.
- Organize and attend lobbying visits with state and local officials, provide testimony to administrative agencies and governing bodies, and develop and cultivate relationships with lawmakers and decisionmakers to advance organizing and policy advocacy objectives.
- Help develop strategy and work on organizing activities for policy campaigns.
- As needed, help build, facilitate, and participate in coalitions and attend and actively participate in community partner meetings and coalitions that focus on issues that impact jail policies.
- Help organize and participate in community education events, rallies, and meetings.
- Serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU SoCal both with the press and as a public speaker on conditions in county jails, sheriff department operations, incarcerated people’s rights, and related issues.
- Provide trainings for community members and coalition partners on how to conduct policy advocacy with decision makers.
- Develop advocacy sign-on letters, fact sheets, advocacy materials, toolkits, action alerts, op-eds, blog posts, and social media content.
- Provide technical support and strategic leadership to community groups, advocates, and organizers in the region.
- Help identify and incorporate into work people who are impacted and help share the compelling experiences of communities impacted by incarceration.
- Support the ACLU SoCal’s base building and volunteer leadership development work, as needed.
- Other duties as assigned.
The ideal candidate will be a hard-worker with a record of accomplishments working with, advocating with, and/or organizing with legal system-involved and legal system-impacted individuals, communities, and/or other marginalized populations.
- At least 1 year of social work, organizing, campaign, and/or advocacy experience.
- Legal system-impacted and legal system-involved people highly encouraged to apply.
- Experience working with individuals who are incarcerated and individuals who are justice-involved.
- A deep and demonstrated commitment to the cause of civil liberties and civil rights, including criminal legal system and jails reform and voting rights or civic engagement.
- Excellent communication skills: written and verbal.
- Excellent time-management and organizational skills.
- Flexible team player and also comfortable working independently and taking initiative.
- Ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for all people.
- Occasional work evenings and weekends.
- Occasional travel throughout the region and other parts of the state.
- Ability to gain security clearance into jail facilities. If unsure about this, please still apply.
- Familiarity with Los Angeles County and/or Orange County regional issues and organizations preferred.
- Connections to Los Angeles County and/or Orange County community or communities affected by mass incarceration and organizations working in those areas preferred.
- Spanish language proficiency preferred.
- Relevant advanced degree such as MSW or public policy degrees or social services experience is a plus, but not preferred or required.
- Experience helping to implement a successful grassroots and/or legislative advocacy campaign at the school district, city/county, state, and/or federal level preferred.
- Experience planning and facilitating workshops, trainings, meetings, and other community events highly preferred.
- Ability to travel to Orange County as necessary.
Salary based on experience. Benefits include medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff members and their eligible dependents; life and long term disability insurance; 401(k) plan with employer match; ample vacation and sick leave and thirteen paid holidays.
Please submit a resume, cover letter, a writing sample, and three references to
firstname.lastname@example.org (NO Phone Calls PLEASE) with the subject title “Jails Conditions and Policy Advocate” or mail to:
HR Department — Jails Conditions and Policy Advocate
ACLU of Southern California
1313 W. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
The ACLU SoCal is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law. We consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable law.