Campaign for Smart Justice Organizer (Central PA)

The ACLU of Pennsylvania (ACLU-PA) is seeking an organizer in Central Pennsylvania to join its Campaign for Smart Justice team. The Campaign for Smart Justice is a multi-year advocacy campaign to reduce Pennsylvania’s jail and prison population by 50% while combating racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Candidates should excel in building high-level relationships and community power through tactics such as creating partnerships with organizations already engaged in these efforts, lobbying officials, recruiting and developing volunteers, and engaging voters.

The ACLU-PA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest organization dedicated to defending and enhancing personal freedoms protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights through litigation, legislative advocacy, organizing, and community education. The ACLU-PA has ten volunteer chapters, approximately 100,000 members and supporters, and 31 full-time employees. The ACLU-PA is rapidly expanding its advocacy infrastructure to meet current challenges to civil rights and liberties.

The organizer will report to the director of the Campaign for Smart Justice and will be a part of an interdisciplinary, cross-departmental campaign team.This is a two-year, full-time, salaried position with a possibility of renewal depending on the organization’s needs and available funding. The position can be based in State College or Harrisburg, PA, although travel across the state will be required frequently. People with personal experience being incarcerated or otherwise impacted by the criminal justice system are encouraged to apply.


Pennsylvania has the highest incarceration rate in the Northeast, with over 86,000 people incarcerated in state and local custody. It also has both the highest number of people on parole and highest rate of parole supervision in the United States.


  • Implement organizing plans with tactics for involving volunteers that balance immediate campaign goals with building long-term volunteer capacity.

  • Recruit and train community leaders and volunteers in support of the campaign.  

  • Plan and manage events to raise visibility and support for the campaign.

  • Plan and manage in-district visits with targeted legislators and other elected officials.

  • Develop, strengthen, and nurture alliances and work in partnership with communities of color, youth groups, formerly incarcerated people, and other advocacy groups.

  • Elevate the stories and experiences of impacted communities and individuals, ensuring that the interests and vision of impacted populations and the broader community are reflected in the PA Campaign for Smart Justice.

  • Produce ongoing reports tracking data and other metrics.

  • Work evening and weekend events as needed, ability to have a flexible schedule and work long hours when necessary.


  • Personal experience being incarcerated or in other ways entangled with the criminal justice system preferred.

  • Two to three years of grassroots organizing or similar experience.

  • Experience putting campaign strategy and tactics for volunteer engagement into practice.

  • A history of working collaboratively and successfully with people and organizations from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and a broad range of ideological positions and religious views.

  • Demonstrated ability to work on a fast-paced campaign with many moving pieces and adapt to changing circumstances preferred.

  • Knowledge of criminal justice reform or an ability to quickly get up to speed

  • Exceptional ability to work and communicate with a wide variety of people

  • Superb organizational skills; detail-oriented with strong follow-through and the ability to meet tight deadlines.

  • Creative, self-starting, willing to learn, and results-oriented with strong task and time management skills.

  • Passion for and commitment to ending mass incarceration and advancing racial justice.

  • Knowledge of or having relationships within the political landscape of Pennsylvania preferred.

  • Ability to have a flexible schedule and travel. Driver’s license required.


Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU-PA compensation scale. Benefits include generous vacation and sick leave; life insurance; defined contribution plan with employer match; and 10 paid holidays. This position is exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.


To apply, send a cover letter and resume to Please include your last name and  “CSJ organizer - Central PA” in the subject line of the email. In your letter, please tell us about prior experiences that would make you a good candidate for this position and indicate where you learned of the posting. No phone calls, please.


Preferred application deadline is January 30, 2019, but applications will be accepted until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website,

The ACLU-PA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU-PA encourages women, people of color, persons with disabilities, veterans, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals to apply.  People with personal experience being incarcerated or otherwise impacted by the criminal justice system are strongly encouraged to apply.

The ACLU-PA comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union (the “Union”) of Pennsylvania and the ACLU Foundation (the “Foundation”) of Pennsylvania. The Union is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, and ACLU membership dues fund its lobbying work. Donations to the Union are not tax-deductible.

The ACLU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Foundation funds support litigation and public education efforts. Donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible. The organizer is an
employee of the Union.

Both the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the ACLU Foundation of Pennsylvania have the same overall mission and share office space, employees, and the same board of directors. The two entities are jointly known by the term “ACLU of Pennsylvania.”

ACLU-PA’s hiring process will comply with Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards (“Ban the Box”) ordinance.

WebSanity Top Secret