JOB ANNOUNCEMENT – March 5, 2021
The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) invites applications for an Investigator to join its Impact Litigation Unit (ILU).
The Southern Center for Human Rights is working for equality, dignity, and justice for people impacted by the criminal legal system in the Deep South. SCHR fights for a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice.
Over our forty-five-year history, SCHR has forced county, state, and federal governments to make significant improvements in prisons and jails to reduce overcrowding, provide adequate medical and mental health care, and abate violence and abuse. We have argued and won five death penalty cases at the United States Supreme Court, four of which challenged profound race discrimination in capital trials. Our combined litigation and policy advocacy helped bring about the creation of a statewide public defender system in Georgia. Our advocacy has advanced significant decarceration reforms in the Georgia General Assembly. Today, SCHR embraces multifaceted strategies in its fight for a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice. For more information about SCHR, visit www.schr.org.
About the Position
SCHR’s ILU challenges unconstitutional practices of the criminal legal system through federal and state litigation in Alabama and Georgia. The ILU’s work currently includes cases on behalf of people who have faced debtors’ prison practices, people being held in solitary confinement, incarcerated people who are subject to high levels of violence, people who have been mistreated by police, people are receiving inadequate legal representation from their appointed counsel in criminal cases, people who are serving extreme prison sentences, and addressing mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic in correctional institutions.
The job of the Investigator is to work with attorneys to investigate allegations of systemic abuse or neglect by correctional officials, courts, and other actors in the criminal legal system and to document this information.
Responsibilities of the criminal justice investigator include:
- Conducting confidential interviews of people in prisons, jails, and wherever else encountering the criminal legal system and documenting this information in a timely fashion;
- Advocating for people under correctional control, and helping people advocate for themselves;
- Locating and interviewing potential plaintiffs and/or witnesses for our cases;
- Observing and documenting court proceedings and identifying people to interview;
- Requesting and obtaining public and confidential records and maintaining these records in an organized manner;
- Conducting litigation-related research and investigating facts using a variety of sources, including news media, social media, Pacer, Accurint, documents available only in print, etc.;
- Developing trusting relationships with SCHR clients;
- Responding to discreet requests for assistance from non-clients;
- Organizing large amounts of paper and digital records by creating summaries, charts, data analysis, and other means for use by attorneys and experts; and
- Assisting in preparing documents for court hearings and for filing in cases.
Qualifications & Experience
SCHR seeks applicants who are highly motivated, detail-oriented, well-organized, communicate well with others, have strong writing skills, and have a deep commitment to SCHR’s work. The candidate should be both a strong team player and able to work independently. The ideal candidate is someone who has prior employment or volunteer experience with under-served communities. A willingness to venture into new situations and tenacity are also desirable characteristics.
Applicants must be:
- willing to travel extensively by car in Georgia, Alabama, and elsewhere;
- trustworthy with confidential information;
- committed to serving low-income communities and/or other communities targeted by the criminal legal system; and
- dedicated to uprooting anti-Black racism and working to advance SCHR’s commitment to antiracism.
A driver’s license is required. Fluency in Spanish, or a background in organizing, journalism, or mental health will be helpful, but is not required. People with direct personal or familial experience with the criminal legal system are deeply welcomed to apply.
Commitment and Compensation
SCHR seeks a commitment of at least three years. Start date is negotiable. Salary is commensurate with experience, within SCHR’s modest, public interest salary range of $38,000 – $55,000. SCHR offers an excellent, 100% premium paid benefit package including medical, dental, vision care, and life insurance. Additional benefits include modest stipends for transportation and wellness, access to a flexible spending account, and childcare assistance (if eligible).
SCHR’s office, located in downtown Atlanta, remains closed for business at this time due to COVID-19. We hope to reopen in the late summer or early fall of 2021. All staff members are working remotely, though some fieldwork is currently being conducted by staff members who opt-in to participate. SCHR provides PPE for employees and has a safety protocol that staff members must abide by.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until position is filled. Those who are interested are encouraged to apply immediately. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE. Email [email protected] with the following:
- Statement in the subject line of the e-mail that you are applying for the Investigator position;
- Letter of interest;
- Writing sample (could be an article for a blog, academic paper, policy brief or whatever shows your style and voice); and
- Contact information for three references.
The Southern Center for Human Rights is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, which welcomes qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, gender-identities, and sexual orientations, as well as those who have been system-involved.