Movement Policy Counsel
JOB ANNOUNCEMENT – December 17, 2021
Movement Policy Counsel
The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) invites applications for a Movement Policy Counsel to join its Public Policy Unit (PPU).
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 embraces multifaceted strategies in its fight 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 also advanced significant reforms in the Georgia General Assembly as well as in local governmental bodies. For more information about SCHR, visit www.schr.org.
About the Position
The role of the Movement Policy Counsel (“Counsel”) is to advance criminal legal reforms that materially benefit marginalized communities by building and strengthening SCHR’s partnerships with coalition members and directly-impacted stakeholders both statewide and in local jurisdictions. The Counsel is housed within SCHR’s Public Policy Unit and collaborates with both the Capital and Impact Litigation Units. The Counsel reports to the Public Policy Director (“Director”) and partners with the Director and the Policy Associate to develop and execute statewide and local policy reform strategies.
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 marginalized communities harmed by criminal legal systems. People with direct personal or familial experience with the criminal legal system are deeply welcome to apply.
- Serve as SCHR’s primary liaison for implementation and oversight of recently passed local legislation, including Atlanta’s bail reform ordinance; lead public education efforts through meetings and forums with stakeholders; collaborate with SCHR’s legal staff to maximize impact;
- With the Director and Policy Associate, assess potential sites for local policy campaigns. This will include reaching out to partners in other jurisdictions including metropolitan and rural areas statewide;
- Serve as local legal support for coalitions engaging legislation on the municipal and county levels, to include but not limited to JUSTGeorgia and the Communities over Cages coalition;
- Communicate with colleagues responsible for coordinating the Justice Reform Partnership (JRP) to ensure that concerns regarding local policy are addressed and that local organizing formations are aware of ways to engage the JRP to advance their work;
- Center and seek the participation of the most-impacted people and populations in all efforts;
- Regularly collaborate with key grassroots partners to plan and execute political education activities as needed;
- Provide technical policy assistance to organizations and other stakeholders to include drafting, editing, analyzing, and explaining local legislation;
- Collaborate with state policy counsel and associates within the PPU to understand and develop engagement materials/events pertaining to statewide legislation;
- Cultivate relationships with diverse allies including conservatives, survivors of crime, faith-based leaders, prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement;
- In collaboration with the Public Policy Unit, provide technical assistance to statewide and local elected officials and other decision-makers on sentencing reforms, decriminalization, criminalization of poverty, and more. This assistance will include policy and legal research, drafting legislation, in-person assistance, and making connections with national experts;
- Research policy issues and prepare briefings and other resources for SCHR’s legal team, legislators, and allies;
- Monitor emerging research and important developments in the field;
- Represent SCHR at meetings of interest to the mission, including those held by correctional agencies, local governing bodies, and community allies;
- Speak publicly at national, state, and local forums, conferences, and meetings; and
- Represent SCHR and its work in community meetings and classrooms.
A successful Counsel:
- Operates within liberatory anti-racist frameworks when approaching tasks, community, and colleagues;
- Is a smart self-starter with a track record of initiative and success;
- Has excellent writing and oral communication skills;
- Works collaboratively with other members of the Public Policy Unit and the SCHR team;
- Is comfortable working independently and being self-directed, while staying regularly connected with the Public Policy Unit and the rest of the organization;
- Has a demonstrated ability to work well with diverse groups and communities;
- Understands and enjoys multifaceted strategic public policy advocacy that involves legislative advocacy, strategic communications, litigation, policy analysis, and coalition-building activities;
- Is a strategic thinker with excellent research, prioritization, analytical, organizational, and interpersonal skills; is able to think ‘big picture’ as well as translate ideas into realistic, actionable plans;
Applicants must be:
- licensed to practice law or sitting for the February 2022 Bar Exam;
- willing to travel extensively by car in Georgia and have a valid driver’s license;
- trustworthy with confidential information;
- committed to serving low-income communities and other communities targeted by the criminal legal system; and
- dedicated to uprooting anti-Black racism and working to advance SCHR’s commitment to antiracism.
Commitment and Compensation
SCHR seeks a commitment of at least three years. The start date is negotiable. Salary is commensurate with experience, within SCHR’s modest, public interest salary range of $60,000-$80,000, commensurate with experience..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, will re-open in spring 2022. SCHR provides PPE for employees and has a mandatory safety protocol. Employees must be fully vaccinated to work in person.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the 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 Movement Policy Counsel 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 or gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, nationalities, military status, as well as people who have been system-involved.