Job Opportunities: Policy Researcher and State Strategies Coordinator, ACLU Drug Law Reform Project

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The Policy Researcher will report directly to the Advocacy Director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project and work collaboratively as part of the Project's growing Advocacy staff, who complement litigation strategies by connecting to audiences outside of the courtroom. The Policy Researcher will take primary responsibility for staying abreast of relevant policy developments and drafting specific policy reform proposals that can be utilized in public education efforts. The Policy Researcher will play a key role in constructing the content needed to effectively communicate a compelling and convincing vision for workable alternatives to the failed "war on drugs."

Roles and responsibilities include collecting, analyzing and organizing research on drug policy issues; researching and compiling reliable statistics that accurately document racial disparity in drug law enforcement for use in public education efforts, and in some instances, litigation; surveying scientific research regarding the health and societal effects of illicit drugs, including research about the medicinal use of marijuana, for use in public education efforts, and in some instances, litigation; tracking and analyzing news, state and federal legislation and other significant policy developments that are relevant to the Project's major campaigns and priority areas; drafting specific policy reform proposals and content for the Project's website and publications; developing, organizing and managing the Project's library of research; and communicating directly with and providing research assistance to ACLU state affiliate offices and other ACLU staff that advocate for the reform of drug laws.

Qualifications include a Bachelor's degree or equivalent (required), advanced degree in public policy, social science or other relevant field desired; at least two years experience with health policy and/or criminal justice research (preferred); demonstrated commitment to public interest issues in general and civil liberties and rights issues in particular; excellent research and writing skills (required); ability and/or aptitude to utilize computer technologies; familiarity with online and multimedia communication tools and forums; and willingness to travel occasionally.

To apply, please send a cover letter, a resume, and three writing samples (with explanation of the extent to which they were edited by others) by email to [email protected] -- reference [DLRP-18/WACLU] in the subject line -- or by mail to: Human Resources, RE: [DLRP-18/WACLU], American Civil Liberties Union, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, which will not be before July 9, 2007. Please indicate where you learned of this job posting.

The State Strategies Coordinator will report directly to the Deputy Director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project and take primary responsibility for overseeing and coordinating all of the Project's state-based campaigns. The Project currently has multi-year, multi-pronged campaigns in six states and plans to steadily expand into additional states. The campaigns revolve around marijuana law reform, addressing the misuse of informants in drug law enforcement, particularly within communities of color, and exposing racially-biased drug law enforcement practices in select locales. The State Strategies Coordinator will manage a collective budget of over $1 million and at least seven state-based campaign staff.

Responsibilities include developing and overseeing the implementation of strategic work plans in all state-based campaigns; managing a collective budget of over $1 million; the cross-state coordination of all campaigns; developing systems for measuring the success and progress of state-based campaigns; developing systems of accountability and mutual-support between state-based campaign staff and the Project; identifying and developing criteria for and initiating contact with new states in which to enact campaigns; and serving as the primary liaison between the Project and ACLU state affiliate offices.

Qualifications include a Bachelor's degree or equivalent (required); advanced degree in public policy, management or similar field (desired but not necessary); demonstrated commitment to public interest issues in general and civil liberties and rights issues in particular; at least 2 years of prior experience supervising campaigns or similar projects (3-5 years relevant experience preferred); exceptional project management skills (required); proven ability to supervise staff (experience supervising staff at a distance is a plus); strong ability to develop strategic plans and ensure their timely implementation; demonstrated ability to collaborate with partners or allies; excellent verbal and written communication skills; strong interpersonal skills; and willingness to travel.

To apply, please send a cover letter, a resume, and writing samples that evidence strategic planning experience (with explanation of the extent to which they were edited by others) by email to [email protected] -- reference [DLRP-15/WACLU] in the subject line -- or by mail to: Human Resources, ATTN: [DLRP-15/WACLU], American Civil Liberties Union, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, which will not be before July 15, 2007. Please indicate where you learned of this job posting.

The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of ACLU compensation scale.

The goal of the Drug Law Reform Project is to end punitive drug policies that cause widespread violation of constitutional and human rights, as well as unprecedented levels of incarceration. Founded in 1998, the Project brings lawsuits throughout the country with lasting impact on public understanding of, and government response to drug use and drug policies.

The Project's legal strategies are built on the idea that fighting for civil rights means more than just persuading judges. It means changing hearts and minds. The Project works on the front lines with the communities most affected by drugs and drug laws, to integrate litigation with innovative public education campaigns and to develop tools to help these communities demand justice.

The Project has an unparalleled track record, having successfully litigated issues ranging from racial profiling in drug law enforcement to protecting medical marijuana users and their doctors from prosecution; and will continue that tradition of success, combining litigation, education, and community empowerment to achieve a humane and sensible drug policy that respects basic human rights and the liberties enshrined in our nation's Constitution.

The Project's current priority areas focus on challenging (1) racial disparities in drug law enforcement and over-incarceration within communities of color, and (2) punishment of non-violent marijuana users.

The Project is currently litigating cases in state and federal courts and administrative agencies challenging racial profiling in drug enforcement, the denial of college financial aid to those with previous drug convictions and federal obstruction of medical marijuana. Other issues of interest include the misuse of informants in drug law enforcement, alternatives to incarceration for drug offenders, student drug testing, censorship of speech advocating drug policy reform and police harassment of sterile syringe exchange programs and other health-based approaches to drug use and abuse. The Project represents the first national effort to harness litigation in combination with coordinated advocacy and community organizing as a tool of drug policy reform. For more information, please visit http://www.aclu.org/drugpolicy.

Santa Cruz, California, the home of the Project, is a 55,000-person college town and eclectic beach community situated on the northern part of Monterey Bay about 70 miles south of San Francisco and 30 miles from San Jose. The Project's location in Santa Cruz offers the rare opportunity to engage in fast-paced, national litigation and activism within a relaxed, small-town environment. The surrounding natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay marine sanctuary, combined with proximity to California's urban centers, makes living and working in Santa Cruz ideal for professionals seeking work-life balance.

NOTE: The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name "ACLU."

The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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