State Policy Advocate

The Innocence Project is a not-for-profit organization that works to exonerate innocent prisoners through post-conviction DNA testing and develop and implement policy changes to prevent wrongful convictions and otherwise reform the criminal justice system.
The State Policy Advocate assists the Director of State Policy Reform in building support for reform through various vehicles, from stakeholder groups to coalition partners and policymakers in various states. The Policy Advocate report to the Director of State Policy Reform and work in close collaboration with key members of the policy staff.
The duties of this position require approximately 40 hours of work per week to be performed in-office, along with moderate to more intense travel, depending on the needs of specific campaigns.

  • Developing relationships with local/state advocates, stakeholders & Policymaker staff;
  • Representing the organization at symposia, trainings and state-level task forces;
  • Preparing for and testifying at legislative hearings; and
  • Sparking interest in the need for innocence reforms.


  • Supporting organizational participation in specified coalitions and/or task forces;
  • Engaging local partners and creating in-state coalitions;
  • Cultivating champions for reform among influential lawmakers, law enforcement leaders, and other criminal justice stakeholders in state and local government;
  • Working to establish more formalized roots and allies at the state level in service of the policy work;
  • Understanding the webs of relationships and influence in specific states.


  • Facilitating the initiation, leadership and execution of state-level advocacy campaigns on priority issues;
  • Analyzing & synthesizing research or other information for state-specific support or opposition to proposed and existing policies and legislation, preparation of documents and other media to deliver those messages;
  • Participating in the drafting of testimony, op-eds and, when appropriate, other advocacy support material, in conjunction with the Policy Analyst
  • Monitoring and providing local partners in multiple states with advice and support from the IP Policy Department on policy initiatives;
  • Identifying social and other media tools, as well as public events, needed to advance specific reforms;


  • A baccalaureate degree; An advanced degree in policy preferred, but equivalent professional experience also suitable;
  • A minimum of 2 years of direct political advocacy experience, with a preference given to individuals with experience working on the state-level or in the area of criminal justice or the social justice arena;
  • Experience building, leading and/or motivating the productive work of coalitions; and
  • Experience working with a broad range of criminal justice stakeholders.


  • Skills and motivation to interact effectively with a wide variety of people of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds and political views, including Innocence Policy Network members, local advocates, politicians, law enforcement and other criminal justice stakeholders, legislators/staffers and attorneys across various states and issues;
  • Ability to work collaboratively as an integral part of a multi-disciplinary policy team;
  • Sound judgment, a high level of personal and professional confidence and strong interpersonal, diplomatic and communication (written & verbal) skills;
  • Social and political savvy;
  • Ability to juggle multiple tasks in a high-pressured environment;
  • Passion for the Innocence Project’s mission and commitment to criminal justice reform;
  • Facility with traditional and social media; and
  • Ability to travel extensively.

The salary for this position is competitive and the Innocence Project offers an excellent benefits package, including health, dental and vision insurance, Flexible Spending Account, 401k plan with company-match, and paid Transitcheks.
Please email a brief cover letter and resume as one attachment to:, with “State Policy Advocate” in the subject line. All .zip file attachments will be deleted without being read. No phone calls, please. Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.
The Innocence Project is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to workplace diversity.