Employment opportunities at the Prison Policy Initiative

There are no open positions at this time. Please check back later.



If I’m applying for a technical, communications, or design position, how should I be thinking about how to best meet the Prison Policy Initiative’s needs?
You can think of us like a magazine, with the technical, communications, and design needs of an online magazine. We don’t think of ourselves that way, but for your purposes you’d be almost all the way there. (The biggest difference between the Prison Policy Initiative and an online magazine is that we think our “back catalogue” is as valuable, if not more valuable, than our newest material.)
If I’m offered the position, can I negotiate my salary outside the listed range?
No. The Prison Policy Initiative lists the anticipated salary for all listed positions because we believe that doing otherwise wastes everyone’s time and increases inequality. For that reason, we’re not going to go outside of that range without re-listing the position, so the offer stage is too late to make this request. However, if you have some additional experience that would allow you to do the position in a greatly expanded way, feel free to pitch us in your cover letter. If we are persuaded that it would be appropriate to make a significantly more senior variant of the position, we will re-list a more senior variant of the position immediately before proceeding with interviews.
Some positions have a salary range of $20,000 or more, and I’m only interested in the position at the higher end of the range. What should I do?
We try to offer positions that have only a narrow range, but sometimes we list a position that can be filled by a more junior candidate who can grow into a senior role in time, or by a more senior candidate who can take on more responsibility immediately and we’d be happy to fill either variant. In that case, we understand that you might only be interested in the more senior variant, and you might be unsure whether we see your experience the same way you do. If this is important to you, you can feel free to tell us where you think you fit in in your cover letter, and we’ll make it a point to tell you very early in the interview process whether we are considering your application for the more junior, middle, or senior end of our published range.
Why do you pay for in-office interview time?
We consider the practice of making applicants do real work for free as part of the interview process to be exploitative. On the other hand, we’ve found that asking you to apply your creativity and experience to real (or simulated) problems to be a valuable way for us to find out what you can do. For that reason, as a matter of policy, we pay interviewees for their time when doing real or simulated work.
I really want to work with the Prison Policy Initiative and I’m most skilled as a researcher and writer. But there aren’t currently any openings in the Research Department. Should I apply for other openings?
No. While we really appreciate people with a flexible, team-player attitude who are willing to consider other roles because they are enthusiastic about joining our team, the other departments generally require different skill sets. Experience as a researcher does not indicate much about how you might perform in other key areas of work, such as communications, development, or policy and advocacy work. Similarly, experience in communications or community organizing in the criminal legal reform space does not generally qualify applicants for research roles. Moreover, you are likely to be happiest in a role that best fits your skills, and it is uncommon for people, once hired, to transfer from one department to another. So instead of applying for any open positions, we encourage you to join our newsletter, to keep an eye on this Jobs page, or to get in touch with us about your interest.
What makes for a strong interview for a communications position?
Our strongest candidates will recognize what we do well, will know how our work fits into the space, and will have ideas for how to take us to the next level. Strong interviewees will ask good questions about the backstory and lessons learned on projects that, to them, seem less successful. Many communications professionals present ideas to us that work well in traditional campaigns, such as creating videos or focusing on individual people’s stories. Stronger interviewees will have considered why we haven’t already embraced these strategies, and will have concrete ideas about how, when, and why we should innovate.
Are all of your positions remote, work-from-home jobs?
Generally, yes. While we have an office in Western Massachusetts, our staff generally work from their homes on a day-to-day basis, with most staff clustered in various parts of Massachusetts or New York City. We recognize that remote working provides both great benefits and significant challenges. The flexibility and commuting benefits are obvious, but being successful in a work-from-home environment also requires staff to be more proactive than might be necessary in an office. For example, because communicating with your colleagues in a remote environment is more difficult, staff need to be proactive about effectively sharing information and coordinating with coworkers and supervisors to ensure they understand their workload and priorities. Additionally, staff need to be more comfortable working through more of their own technological challenges than would be required in an office.

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