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Arnold Ventures is a philanthropy dedicated to tackling some of the most pressing problems in the United States. Our core objective is to maximize opportunity and minimize injustice.

Position: Director of Criminal Justice Research

Salary: Competitive salary based on qualifications plus benefits

Office: Washington, D.C., preferably

Arnold Ventures' Criminal Justice initiative aims to advance community safety and the values of fairness, effectiveness, and racial justice. We fund innovative work in five domains: Policing, Pretrial Justice, Community Supervision, Prisons, and Reintegration. The Initiative works with teams of experts from inside and outside government and across disciplines to reform the U.S. criminal justice system through research, evidence, testing innovative pilot programs, and policy change.

We are seeking a Director of Criminal Justice Research to help establish our research agenda, lead many of our most significant research projects, and provide strategic research-related advice across the Initiative. This individual will be responsible for identifying, analyzing, and pursuing new, high-leverage philanthropic opportunities and managing current investments. The Director of Criminal Justice Research will report to the Vice President of Criminal Justice overseeing the corrections portfolio and, working closely with the Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice and staff across the Initiative and organization, will be instrumental in building a portfolio focused on reforming community supervision, prisons, sentencing, release decisions, fines and fees, reentry, and reintegration.

Core Responsibilities

  • Work with Arnold Ventures' Vice President of Criminal Justice and the corrections team to identify trends in criminal justice policy and practice and assess potential areas for data analysis, policy assessment, and program evaluation, with a particular focus on community supervision, prisons, sentencing, release decisions, fines and fees, reentry, and reintegration;
  • Identify, develop, and present charitable investment/grant recommendations that are aligned with the team’s strategies to Criminal Justice Initiative’s leadership and Arnold Ventures' Board of Directors;
  • Oversee charitable investments approved by Arnold Ventures' Board of Directors and draw lessons from them to inform strategy and future projects;
  • Supervise a Manager of Criminal Justice Research, responsible for overseeing a portfolio of investments and developing new investment recommendations;
  • Work with the Board of Directors, Executive Vice President, and the Criminal Justice team to develop and refine Arnold Ventures' criminal justice strategies;
  • Work with grantees to develop strategic plans, assess research designs, and establish performance metrics;
  • Partner with other Directors of Criminal Justice Research and research leaders in the organization to provide advice and consultation on criminal justice research grants, as well as projects in development, so as to ensure the highest methodological rigor and study design;
  • Develop and manage relationships with key stakeholders, experts, and new and existing grantees;
  • Collaborate with staff to explore and develop cross-initiative investment opportunities (e.g., public health, education) and build the research capacity of the Criminal Justice team.

Essential Skills, Experience, and Abilities

  • A minimum of ten years of experience performing and/or overseeing significant policy-relevant criminal justice research projects, preferably related to prisons, community corrections, reentry, sentencing, and fines and fees;
  • A deep understanding of the criminal justice system more broadly;
  • Deep knowledge of statistics and research design;
  • Experience interfacing with senior-level criminal justice stakeholders about research and evaluation of justice policies and interventions;
  • Ability to translate complex research findings into key takeaways for diverse audiences;
  • Proven ability to think transformationally about the criminal justice system and to design innovative strategies for positive and sustainable reforms;
  • Effective leadership and management skills, including ability to support and develop colleagues;
  • Strategic, entrepreneurial approach to developing ideas and designing solutions;
  • Ability to bring disparate constituents together and build consensus;
  • Creativity and rigor in finding answers to complex problems;
  • Capacity to effectively prioritize projects, work simultaneously on multiple ventures, and meet deadlines.

Required Education

  • Ph.D. in criminal justice, public policy, psychology, sociology, economics, or other social sciences (Candidates with a Master’s Degree and an established research track record may be considered.)

Desired Personal Qualities:

  • Passionate about improving the U.S. criminal justice system;
  • Self-motivated and proactive;
  • Flexible, adaptable, and comfortable with change;
  • Creative and innovative;
  • Confident and humble;
  • Team-oriented and collaborative, yet also able to work well independently;
  • Able to interact confidently with junior, senior, and executive team members and navigate relationships with external experts, government leaders, advocates, and individuals impacted by the justice system.

We are interested in receiving applications from qualified candidates who have been directly impacted by the systems we are seeking to change.

To Apply

Please send a resume, a cover letter that indicates how you learned about this position, two writing samples (at least one of which is sole-authored and preferably a peer-reviewed publication), and contact information for three references to Please indicate in the subject line of the email that the application is for the position of “Director of Criminal Justice Research, Corrections Reform.” Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.