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Principal Research and Data Associate at Acacia Center for Justice

Acacia Center for Justice


Mid Level

$86.000 - $100.000

26 Apr → 26 May


Job Description


The Center for Justice Innovation (formerly the Center for Court Innovation) is a non-profit organization that works with communities and justice systems to advance equity, increase safety, and help individuals and communities thrive. The Center's goal is to identify and resolve as early as possible the challenges that bring people into the criminal and civil legal systems. It does this in a number of ways—by developing and running programs that reduce the need for incarceration and enhance economic opportunity, conducting original research to identify what works, and sharing what we learn from our programming and research with those seeking to transform the justice system around the world.

The Center is an 800-employee, $100 million nonprofit that accomplishes its vision through three pillars of work: creating and scaling operating programs to test new ideas and solve problems, performing original research to determine what works (and what doesn’t), and providing expert assistance and policy guidance to justice reformers around the world.


Operating Programs

The Center’s operating programs, including the award-winning Red Hook Community Justice Center and Midtown Community Court, test new ideas, solve difficult problems, and attempt to achieve systemic change within the justice system. Our projects include community-based violence prevention programs, alternatives to incarceration, reentry initiatives, and court-based initiatives that reduce the use of unnecessary incarceration and promote positive individual and family change. Through this programming, we have produced tangible results like safer streets, reduced incarceration, and improved neighborhood perceptions of justice.



The Center's research teams are staffed with social scientists, data analysts, and lawyers who are academically-trained or have lived experience and who conduct research in the U.S. and globally on diverse criminal-legal system and justice issues. Their work includes evaluating programs and policies; conducting exploratory, community-based studies; and providing research translation and strategic planning for system actors. The Center has published studies on topics including court and jail reform, intimate partner violence, restorative justice, gun violence, reentry, sixth amendment rights, and progressive prosecution. The research teams strive to make their work meaningful and actionable to the communities they work with, policymakers, and practitioners.


Policy & Expert Assistance

The Center provides hands-on, planning and implementation assistance to a wide range of jurisdictions in areas of reform such as problem-solving courts (e.g., community courts, treatment courts, domestic violence courts), tribal justice, reducing incarceration and the use of fines/fees and reducing crime and violence. Our current expert assistance takes many forms, including help with analyzing data, strategic planning and consultation, policy guidance, and hosting site visits to its operating programs in the New York City area.



The data analytics and applied research team (DAAR) collaborates with the Center’s operating programs to inform new and existing programming through data tracking, analysis, evaluation, and surveys. DAAR’s work frequently includes measures such as case outcomes and program impacts, case processing, community needs and concerns, and perceptions of justice-involved individuals. The team also provides technical assistance to community court and diversion programs across the country.

DAAR is seeking a Principal Research and Data Associate to carry out, coordinate, and supervise data management, data analysis, and research projects for some of the Center’s court- and community-related work. At the outset, the position will primarily focus on our New York Family Court programs and community and court programming in New Jersey. Reporting to the Associate Director of DAAR who oversees community, housing, youth, and family court programs, this position will also supervise additional data and analysis work for other Community Development and Crime Prevention programs at the Center. This position offers an opportunity to coordinate and conduct on-the-ground research and data analysis on several innovative programs and, more generally, to manage program outcomes and policy implications through data tracking and analysis. The successful candidate must bring a real interest in justice work, along with deep knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methodology, evaluation design and implementation. The role requires a strong preexisting skill set in using statistical software and working on data metrics.


Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Manage development and implementation of data management systems and data processes;

  • Liaise with the technology department to assist with setup of data systems;

  • Work with the project directors and program staff to set priorities for research and data collection, and promote data-driven program operations;

  • Develop metrics to track activities and assess outcomes based on understanding of programs, community and staff input, existing literature and cutting-edge practices in relevant fields;

  • Track and analyze programs' impact at the community and individual level, including collaboratively determining appropriate outcomes for evaluation;

  • Liaise with other Center sites to translate the data processes and metrics developed for the program and assist those sites with implementation;

  • Oversee research/evaluations, fieldwork, data analysis and reporting, and metrics tracking;

  • Extract, code, clean, and analyze data from large databases (including both internal and external data sources);

  • Oversee and/or produce statistical reports and analysis (e.g., regarding program volume, service linkages, participant needs, or completion rates) – both recurring and ad hoc;

  • Serve as principal investigator (PI) on research projects and coordinate with external research partners;

  • Conduct and/or oversee proficient analytic and writing work in all stages of the research process;

  • Author or edit well-crafted and well-written products for multiple audiences (researchers,
    policymakers, and/or practitioners);

  • Disseminate findings and data-informed policy implications to policymaker and practitioner audiences, as well as researchers;

  • Coordinate and work with program staff and senior management to write funding proposals, and plan and implement new programs;

  • Coordinate with development staff and fiscal staff on contracts and data deliverables;

  • Identify and critically assess project progress against benchmarks;

  • Independently supervise the work of full-time research and data staff (at various levels,
    including senior research and data associate, research and data associate, and research assistants);

  • Work individually and collaboratively on a smaller team within the larger department; coordinate with DAAR colleagues;

  • Work closely with DAAR team management to streamline, document, and standardize data management and analysis practices across similar programs at the Center; and

  • Additional relevant tasks, as needed.

Position Location: Midtown Manhattan, NY

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have a Master’s Degree or PhD and 5+ years, or a Bachelor’s Degree and 7+ years’ relevant substantive experience in research, evaluation, and data analysis, preferably in the governmental or nonprofit context, especially the criminal justice or other court-related field. Must have prior experience serving as a principal investigator/supervisor, developing/writing grant proposals, database management/data collection management and supervising junior researchers. Strong research and analytic skills are a must (e.g., research and evaluation design, developing fieldwork protocols, conducting interviews and focus groups, management of complex datasets, data coding, descriptive and inferential statistics). Experience using syntax-based statistical software, (e.g., SPSS, SAS, Stata, R) and/or qualitative analysis software (e.g., Atlas.ti, Dedoose) is required. Experience using data visualization software (e.g., Tableau) and familiarity with Salesforce is a plus. Experience working alongside programmatic (non-research) staff and conducting participatory research is a plus. Prior management or leadership experience in non-profit or government organizations is strongly preferred. Candidate must be a skilled communicator (written and oral) and able to interact professionally and effectively and maintain relationships with Center staff, community-based organizations, criminal justice personnel, and members of the public. Knowledge of and strong interest in the justice system and/or community development is a must.

Compensation: The compensation range for this position is $86,190 - $100,000 and is commensurate with experience. The Center for Justice Innovation offers an excellent benefits package including comprehensive healthcare with a national network, free basic dental coverage, vision insurance, short-term and long-term disability, life insurance, and flexible spending accounts including commuter FSA. We prioritize mental health care for our staff and offer services like Talkspace and Ginger through our healthcare plans. We offer a 403(b) retirement plan with a two-to-one employer contribution up to 5%.

The Center for Justice Innovation is an equal opportunity employer. The Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, national origin, age, military service eligibility, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or any other category protected by law. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities as well as individuals with prior contact with the criminal justice system.

As of September 9, 2021, all new hires are required to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, unless they have been granted a reasonable accommodation for medical, disability or religious reasons by the Center’s Human Resources Department.

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete an employment eligibility verification document form upon hire. Only applicants under consideration will be contacted. No phone calls or emails please.

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