Mental Health Project – Researcher


Mental Health Project – Researcher

The Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project (MHP) seeks a researcher to advance the work of our criminal justice advocacy program.

Who Are We?

MHP is a team of attorneys, social workers, advocates, and peer specialists dedicated to disrupting and dismantling the cycle of hospitalization, homelessness, and incarceration that traps New Yorkers with serious mental health concerns experiencing poverty.

Job Summary & Qualifications

Through coalition-building, community education, legislative advocacy, and litigation, MHP works to dismantle the criminal legal system’s punitive response to people with mental health concerns. This work includes advancing efforts to end solitary confinement, promoting state legislation to expand mental health treatment courts, and holding the City accountable for providing discharge planning services to people who receive mental health treatment in city jails.

We seek a researcher to join our team and support an exciting new project to advance decarceration of New York City jails and promote mental health treatment and support services for those with mental health challenges involved in the criminal legal system.


  • Conduct interviews of criminal legal and mental health system stakeholders, including people with mental health concerns who have been incarcerated and participated in mental health treatment in the community;
  • Gather information about the city jail population and diversion efforts in other jurisdictions;
  • Compile and analyze data collected from stakeholder interviews and other research;
  • Develop specific recommendations about what services need to be developed or enhanced;
  • Draft a report summarizing these findings and recommendations for reducing the number of people with mental health challenges who are incarcerated in city jails;
  • Educate policymakers and community members on report’s findings;
  • Coordinate with advocates and participate in coalitions to advance report recommendations


  • Educational or professional experience conducting research and writing reports;
  • Master’s degree in public health or social work, or equivalent work experience, preferred;
  • Proven ability to analyze complex policy issues, summarize policy research, and effectively communicate key issues to lay audiences, as demonstrated by academic training and/or work experience;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills;
  • Familiarity with the criminal legal system and/or community mental health system in New York City;
  • Ability to work independently, stay organized, and meet deadlines;
  • Strong interpersonal communication and relationship-building skills and demonstrated ability to work in a highly collaborative vironment;
  • Experience working with people living with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders preferred;
  • Fluency in Spanish preferred.


Salary is DOE. The researcher position is part-time, four days per week. The Urban Justice Center offers a flexible work environment and a highly competitive benefits package that includes vacation, personal, and sick time; medical and dental coverage; vision and gym reimbursements; and a 401(k) plan. The position is term-limited for one year, with the possibility of extension.

The Urban Justice Center currently has a hybrid work schedule. COVID-19 vaccination required.

How to Apply

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and 3-5-page writing sample to Please write “Criminal Justice Researcher” in the email subject line. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with priority given to applications received by June 30, 2022. Due to high volume, we are unable to respond to all applicants. We will contact only those candidates selected for further consideration. This is a bargaining unit position represented for collective bargaining purposes by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW, Local 2320.

The Urban Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, sex, SOGIE, age, disability, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics, victim of domestic violence status, or marital status. People with lived experience of mental health concerns and/or criminal legal system involvement are encouraged to apply


Read about MHP’s class action impact litigation cases.

Learn More


We welcome your questions and comments

Main Office

40 Rector Street, 9th floor
New York, NY 10006

Telephone: 877-MHP-LAW1 (877-647-5291)



Mon-Fri: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

By appointment only