The Justice Volunteers – College Student Research Team

The Justice Volunteers – College Student Research Team 

Who We Are:

The Justice Collaborative​ is a team of legal experts, researchers, and media strategists collaborating across a collection of strategically aligned projects to advance criminal justice reform. We supply deep legal and policy expertise to organizations throughout the country to cut through the complexity and confusion of local, state, and federal laws and procedures that make up our criminal justice system. Our goal is to transform our deeply flawed criminal system so that it’s grounded in human dignity and restraint.

The Justice Volunteers​, a project of The Justice Collaborative (TJC), is a volunteer task force dedicated to researching a variety of key criminal justice issues. The work done by The Justice Volunteers is incredibly valuable to TJC’s goal of holding elected officials in the criminal justice system accountable, advocating for reform-minded policies across the country, and researching and amplifying important local issues related to criminal justice reform.

The College Student Research Team:

The College Student Research Team is a new team within The Justice Volunteers launching on May 15, 2019. This team of college students will be a driving force behind TJC’s implementation of our “​Blueprint for a Safer and More Just America​”. Our Blueprint addresses the country’s rate of incarceration, one that outpaces any other country on the planet, by setting forth 35 key areas for reform. In the lead up to the 2020 elections, this Blueprint serves as a guide to pushing key opportunities for meaningful criminal justice reform to the forefront of the national conversation. Students will contribute to the research team in numerous ways, which include:

  • Analyzing the context for reform in each state, including the current network of local criminal justice reform campaigns, stakeholders, public perceptions, and media landscapes;
  • Identifying policy shifts made by local actors such as the sheriff or the district attorney;
  • Conducting literature reviews for existing research on which rhetorical strategies and narrative tools have proven persuasive, and which have been less effective, within the context of each issue area;
  • Researching local elections and candidates to highlight contested races at varying levels of government;
  • Supporting short-term research projects according to evolving TJC priorities and campaigns.

Students may also work on advocacy projects more directly designed to shift local policies to reduce the drivers of incarceration. Students will be assigned research to help attorneys, media strategists, and others determine both the best policy path forward and the most effective ways to influence public perceptions of the criminal justice system and reform.

The College Student Research Team will work remotely and be primarily supervised by Molly Bernstein. Almost all of this work is done online and is designed to be as flexible as possible to allow team members to work whenever their schedule permits. However, it is expected that members will work at least 3 hours per week.

How To Apply:

Interested students should submit their resume and a cover letter to Molly Bernstein at with the subject line “College Student Research Team Applicant.” In the cover letter, applicants should be sure to note which element(s) of the TJC_Blueprint most align with their interests and/or past experiences.

As a program designed to maximize flexibility, we encourage applicants to apply as ongoing members of the College Student Research Team; however, students are welcome to apply more specifically for a summer, semester, or year-long position and should indicate their preferred time frame in the application’s cover letter.

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