Program Assistant - Civil Survival Project
The Public Defender Association (PDA) is a non-profit organization which advocates for justice system reform and develops alternatives that shift from a punishment paradigm to a system that supports individual and community health. We also provide technical assistance to community partners who are committed to these goals.
We advance justice system reform and alternative practices and policy through several core programs and policy initiatives, including:
- Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD): Under LEAD, police officers exercise discretionary authority at the point of contact to divert individuals to a community-based intervention program for low-level criminal offenses (such as drug possession, sales, and prostitution offenses) in lieu of jail booking ad prosecution; long term care and coordination is provided to minimize future justice system involvement, all in a harm reduction framework. PDA is the project manager for the flagship local LEAD program and provides technical support for jurisdictions replicating LEAD nationally and internationally through our LEAD National Support Bureau.
- Voices of Community Activists and Leaders - Washington (VOCAL-WA): VOCAL-WA, affiliated with VOCAL-NY, builds power among low- and no- income people directly affected by the war on drugs, homelessness, mass incarceration, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic to create healthy and just communities for all.
- Transforming Policy: The Public Defender Association’s Racial Disparity Project (RDP) has worked to improve police accountability and reconsider the role of the police since its inception in 1998, and worked to reform Washington’s deadly force laws, including with technical support for the implementation of I940/De-Escalate WA, passed by Washington voters in 2018.
- System Reform: In the spirit of our four decade history as a public defense office committed to system reform, the current incarnation of the Public Defender Association continues to do policy advocacy, litigation, public education and organizing on issues that systemically affect people who are or are likely to be engaged by the justice system. This work includes efforts such as drug user health and supervised consumption campaigns, work on pre-trial release, and work to advance justice reinvestment, moving funding from institution-based investments to community-based care, in Seattle/King County and around Washington state.
- Civil Survival Project: Civil Survival Project organizes people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to build connections, gain knowledge and increase political participation. Civil Survival provides leadership development, legal education and services, and legislative advocacy on systemic issues that prevent former justice-involved individuals the opportunity to fully reintegrate.
- Community Justice Project: The Community Justice Project aims to reduce harm caused by violence and mass incarceration by building effective, trauma-informed healing responses that reflect restorative justice principles. We strive to empower the most impacted and marginalized communities by investing in the leadership of both crime survivors and incarcerated individuals to drive this work. Unlike the traditional victim advocacy model, we are investing in the leadership of survivors and people directly impacted.
PDA seeks a talented individual experienced in high-level administrative and secretarial support to join our small, but dynamic, team. The ideal candidate will have at least three years of recent and relevant experience with administrative duties supporting a Director or Executive of a busy non-profit organization in a setting that requires the ability to handle a range of tasks under pressure. They will also be a highly self-motivated, detail-oriented and organized leader who exercises good judgment in a variety of situations. The Program Assistant will also be part of a team including our community organizer and legislative coordinator, and several consultants and external partners, and will keep the work of the Civil Survival Project moving forward. The Civil Survival Project is led and staffed by people who have been incarcerated, and the ideal candidate will be happy to support the leadership of the people in the project; and the mission to build the capacity for people with lived experiences to lead on system reform that impacts their lives.
Job responsibilities are varied and include: mastery in calendar management and scheduling appointments; analysis of incoming correspondence (i.e. emails, letters, and voicemails) to determine significance and respond appropriately; development of memos, educational materials, Power Point presentations and collaterals; travel planning, event coordination and staffing (this position will require some evening and weekend work); maintenance of CRM database; policy analysis and research is a plus. May attend meetings or events on behalf of the Director when needed. Other special projects and duties as assigned.
The Program Assistant will work in collaboration with other PDA staff and will report to the Civil Survival Project Director.
Requirements / Qualifications:
People who have past involvement with the justice system, criminal conviction history, a history of substance use, sex workers, people living with HIV/AIDS and/or hepatitis C, or people who have experienced housing insecurity or homelessness will have particularly relevant experience and are encouraged to apply. People with disabilities, people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQIA+ communities are also strongly encouraged to apply.
This is a new position with the organization and we are seeking an energetic, creative, self-motivated individual who can manage the duties with extremely strong organization skills.
- Commitment to the mission of the Public Defender Association;
- Commitment to the mission of the Civil Survival Project;
- Superior organization skills with strong attention to detail and the ability to manage multiple projects at the same time; must be self-motivated and be able to work both independently and as part of multiple teams;
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills;
- Experience in event planning and support a plus;
- The ideal candidate will be an energetic, self-motivated individual who has strong interpersonal and problem solving skills. Interest in working as a member of a team and in a fast-paced, dynamic environment is essential;
- Candidates must demonstrate interest in criminal justice, homelessness, and/or drug policy reform and a willingness to approach these issues through a racial justice analysis, and with a commitment to harm reduction principles;
- Candidates must have at least three years of recent experience in program or executive administration;
- Proficiency in Google Suite, Word, Excel, and Power Point is required.
- Policy analysis and research is a plus.
The salary will range from $48,000 to $62,629 depending on experience. The Public Defender Association offers a generous benefits package.
Equal Opportunity Statement:
The Public Defender Association is an equal opportunity employer. People with disabilities, people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQIA+ communities are also strongly encouraged to apply.
How to Apply:
Please send a cover letter and résumé to Christa Nemeth at email@example.com. In the subject line, please put “Program Assistant [Your Name]”. No phone calls please. This position will remain open until filled, with a preference for resumes received before September 27, 2019.
Note: Only those candidates under consideration will be contacted
Racial Disparity Project: Internship & Externship Opportunities
The Public Defender Association (PDA) is a non-profit corporation which advocates for justice system reform and develops alternatives that shift from a punishment paradigm to a system that supports individual and community health. We also provide technical assistance to community partners who are committed to these goals. We advance justice system reform and alternative practices and policy through several core programs and policy initiatives, including:
An intern with the Racial Disparity Project will work under the supervision of the Senior Attorney to research and write legal memoranda, engage in individual representation of clients, work on current policy advocacy projects, and assist in the preparation of filings for ongoing litigation. The intern will also gain an understanding of the multifaceted work done by the LEAD team, the Civil Survival Project, and the Community Justice Project.
Desired Skills and Qualifications
The intern will develop an in-depth understanding of the criminal justice reform work in which PDA engages and the public health perspective PDA utilizes. Excellent writing and communications skills are required. Applicants should have strong interests in policy advocacy, litigation, public education and organizing on issues that systemically affect people who are or area likely to be engaged by the justice system. A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences is also expected. Candidates must have completed at least one year of law school.
Equal Opportunity Statement
The Public Defender Association is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture and are committed to race equity in all aspects of our work. PDA encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, socio-economic circumstance, or record of arrest or conviction. Women, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.
How to Apply
Intern, Extern & Volunteer Opportunities
PDA has various volunteer or intern opportunities available on an ongoing basis.
- For current or recent law students interested in a fellowship, legal externship or internship, please contact Prachi Dave, PDA Senior Attorney, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you are interested in general, LEAD, VOCAL-WA or other open-ended opportunities, please complete the survey found here. Once complete, we will retain your information on file and contact you when an internship and/or volunteer opportunity is available.