Policy Strategist - Criminal Legal Reform
ABOUT THE ACLU OF KANSAS
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas is a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The ACLU of Kansas works in the state legislature, the courts, and local communities to protect the rights of all people living in Kansas. The organization’s work includes efforts to strengthen and defend First Amendment rights, voting rights, reproductive rights, racial justice, LGBT rights, immigrants’ rights, stopping government surveillance, and reforming the criminal justice system. The ACLU of Kansas often works in broad-based coalitions made up of individuals and organizations from across the political, partisan, and ideological spectrum. The ACLU of Kansas is an affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, has an annual budget of approximately $2.1 million, and has more than 30,000 supporters across the state. The headquarters of the ACLU of Kansas is in Overland Park, Kansas.
The ACLU of Kansas comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and the ACLU Foundation of Kansas. Both entities have 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. The ACLU Foundation of Kansas is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that primarily engages in litigation and public education. The ACLU of Kansas is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation that primarily engages in lobbying and advocacy. The ACLU of Kansas also provides operational and funding support for Kansans United for Civil Liberties, a Section 527 political action committee. More information about the ACLU of Kansas is available at www.aclukansas.org.
The ACLU of Kansas seeks a dynamic, creative, self-motivated team player to serve as a Policy Strategist. The Policy Strategist is a staff position within the Department of Policy and Research and will report to a Director of Policy and Research. This position will serve as a key policy and advocacy expert on civil rights and civil liberties issues surrounding reform of the criminal legal system. The role is responsible for analyzing and developing state and local policies, conducting policy and data research on the position’s issue portfolio, supporting an impactful, non-partisan policy advocacy program, and developing a range of materials and trainings to utilize and disseminate research findings and recommendations for public policy.
During the Kansas legislative session, this staff person will regularly interact with the legislative process. The ACLU of Kansas is also deeply engaged in policy work at the city and county level in jurisdictions across Kansas; as a result, this position may involve modest travel to communities around the state.
The ACLU of Kansas has adopted a “campaign” approach for its work. Work is focused on pursuing specific integrated advocacy campaigns to achieve measurable goals that will expand civil liberties, while building the long-term power of the ACLU and the civil liberties movement. The organization’s campaigns for the next four years are criminal legal reform and voting rights. Both campaigns have policy objectives they seek to attain at the state level and at the local level. This position is focused on issues related to criminal legal reform; a similar position focused on voting rights issues will be added to the department in the near future. Although this position will primarily be focused on the criminal legal reform campaign, the position will provide support to other affiliate campaigns and initiatives on a regular basis.
The ACLU of Kansas is a hybrid workplace, with staff required to be in-office two days per week and able to work remotely for up to three days per week. This position may be based out of the ACLU of Kansas’s primary office in Overland Park, or at a new site in Wichita. Staff working in Wichita will be expected to travel to the Overland Park office once per month.
- Track developing priority legislation, state administrative rules, local rules and ordinances and similar public policies to ensure timely analysis and advocacy.
- Analyze policy issues from a constitutional/civil liberties perspective and prepare policy proposals, background materials, reports, and public-facing documents based on that analysis.
- Prepare testimony, letters, and memoranda stating the ACLU’s position and/or best practices on legislation, resolutions, local ordinances, administrative rules and similar public policies related to criminal legal reform.
- Develop criminal legal reform policy guidance and conduct research on criminal legal reform policy issues.
- Support partner engagement; recommend political and legislative strategies.
- Contribute to creating community education plans, strategies, actions and materials.
- In collaboration with the Communications Department, develop persuasive and informative materials, including issue specific policy reports, fact sheets, action alerts, talking points, issue briefs, op-eds, and website updates, and recommend communications messaging and strategy.
- In collaboration with the Field Department, develop and implement trainings that build the capacity of ACLU staff, chapters, members, and supporters to be strong leaders, advocates, and messengers for the civil liberties and civil rights movement.
- Work collaboratively with the national ACLU and other ACLU affiliates to advance nationwide policy priorities.
- Attend national and regional ACLU training, staff conferences, and issue-oriented events.
- Identify emerging civil liberties and racial justice issues.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
- BA required.
- At least one year of local, state, and/or national-level legislative, political or policy advocacy work, with a strong preference for Kansas experience. Experience working in policy development and policy research preferred.
- Experience working on racial justice issues and using a racial justice lens.
- Understanding of the policy-making process.
- Knowledge of civil liberties and civil rights issues and a commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission and goals.
- Excellent analytical, communication (written and oral), and research skills, with the ability to articulate policy/legal concepts and complex issues tactfully and effectively to a variety of audiences.
- Exceptional ability to work independently and keep organized in a fast-paced environment, manage several projects simultaneously, and adjust strategy to frequently changing demands.
- Understanding of how to work collaboratively with colleagues across departments and functions; experience in integrated advocacy strongly preferred.
- Commitment to the highest ethical standards of advocacy and professionalism.
- Ability to work non-standard hours during legislative session and travel to meetings and events throughout the state, as needed.
- An unwavering passion for the mission and goals of the ACLU, including demonstrated interest in civil liberties, equity and racial justice is essential.
The salary for this position is $50,000. The ACLU of Kansas offers excellent benefits, including medical and disability insurance (fully paid by employer), a 401(k) match program, and generous vacation, holiday, and sick leave.
Please submit a letter of interest, a current resume, a relevant writing sample of no more than 5 pages, and three professional references (identifying each reference’s relationship to you and each reference’s email address and phone number). Email your application to:
Sr. Human Resources Consultant
Please include “Policy Strategist” in the subject line. Applications accepted until the position is filled. No calls or in-person applications, please.
Applicants will be reviewed beginning immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. No phone calls or in-person applications, please. The ACLU of Kansas strongly encourages formerly incarcerated individuals to apply.
This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU of Kansas reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.
The ACLU of Kansas is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Kansas encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, or veteran status. The ACLU of Kansas undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.