June 7, 2022

Staff Attorney – Serving People Currently Incarcerated in California

Staff Attorney – Serving People Currently Incarcerated in California

About Root & Rebound (R&R): R&R’s mission is to restore power and resources to the families and communities most harmed by mass incarceration through legal advocacy, public education, policy reform and litigation— a model rooted in the needs and expertise of people who are directly impacted. You can learn more about our work in our 2021 Annual Report.

Employment Status: This is a full-time, exempt role. 

Location: R&R’s home office is based in Oakland, CA; currently we are operating in a hybrid office-remote work environment. This position does require travel to Folsom State Prison (Represa, CA), once a month, assuming visitation is allowed.  

About the Staff Attorney for People Incarcerated in CA Position: The Attorney will work with the Coordinator of Programs for People Incarcerated in CA to develop, facilitate, and enhance R&R’s reentry education and reentry services for people in CA state prisons and jails preparing to return home–mitigating the issues that thousands of people face each year when released, through early and impactful support. The Attorney’s primary focus will be on providing legal information and support to program participants and alumni.

The Attorney will be responsible for co-managing in-prison programming in at least one CA prison, Folsom State Prison. The goals for R&R’s in-prison programs include:  1) Building self-advocacy skills and knowledge for navigating barriers to reentry; 2) Developing a Reentry Blueprint, including connections to resources and services in the community tailored to individual needs; 3) Ensuring success in reentry while reducing the likelihood of re-incarceration; 4) Providing personal and leadership opportunities to become role models, mentors and leaders both in prison and in their communities; and 5) Offering long-term access to R&R as a reentry resource center. 

The Attorney will also work with the Coordinator to expand R&R’s capacity to provide in-prison/jail education, trainings, and legal support across the state of California. 

Using the information and best practices learned from R&R’s in-prison and national education programs and the cutting edge resources the organization has created, the Attorney will work with the Coordinator to co-present, improve upon, and create new materials, curricula, and tools for people incarcerated in CA prisons and jails. Further, they will work together to proactively offer individualized support for program participants for at least three months after they return home.  The Attorney additionally will provide further direct services to people in CA jails and prisons through our Friday hotline and mail correspondence, supporting them in coming home and reintegrating into their communities successfully. 

The ideal candidate will intend to stay in this position for three years or more.

Duties & Responsibilities:  

The Staff Attorney role includes, but is not limited to, the following:

In-Prison Programming:

  • Work with Staff Attorney for People Incarcerated in CA to implement the Roadmap to Reentry program at FSP (and possibly other prisons in the future) by improving upon training materials for and facilitating workshops 
    • Current expectation is to facilitate workshops at FSP two weekdays a month (and the expectation may increase).
  • Work with the Coordinator to leverage R&R’s existing in-prison curricula, social service referrals, and cutting edge reentry planning resources to develop individualized Reentry Blueprints for in-prison program participants that both: 1) outline their plans for returning home; and 2) connect them to social services, reentry organizations, and relevant resources (e.g., public benefits, housing, food, etc.) to help them realize their goals. The Attorney will focus on issue-spotting and providing relevant legal information;
  • Communicate with program participants and alumni via telephone and mail.
  • Proactively reach out to all program participants for three months after release to assess reentry legal and more holistic needs and offer related support and referrals. Therefore, provide continued support as needed.
  • Provide continued support to alumni from previous in-prison programs to sustain the program more autonomously;
  • Inform R&R advocacy work with knowledge/experience acquired through programming.

Reentry Support and Social Services Connections:

  • Build and maintain strong relationships with community partners and CDCR liaisons to create strong community support for the people returning home.

Reentry Hotline, Prison Mail and Direct Services Work:

  • Serve as part of the legal support team on R&R’s weekly Reentry Hotline by conducting holistic reentry legal intakes, helping currently and formerly incarcerated callers identify and navigate reentry barriers, empowering clients to advocate for themselves, and advocating for clients needs across a variety of reentry issues (including those covered in R&R’s Roadmap to Reentry Guide)
  • Conduct research and provide creative, zealous and holistic legal support for clients’ reentry legal questions
  • Help maintain a strong referral and resource database for the hotline
  • Ensure that R&R has strong materials and organizational systems to respond to information and resource requests from incarcerated people who write to R&R.

Grant Administration:

  • Track deliverables for relevant grants and draft grant progress reports.
  • Attend CDCR Innovative Programming Grant meetings

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Licensed to practice law in the state of CA, in good standing;
  • At least one year of post-law school, legal experience, preferably in public interest;
  • Demonstrated dedication to social, racial, and economic justice; 
  • Ability to take initiative, problem-solve, meet deadlines, and work both collaboratively and independently;
  • Strong time-management and organizational skills to be able to juggle workshop planning in addition to managing a client caseload; 
  • Ability to genuinely connect, empathize, and build trust with clients;
  • Flexible, adaptable, and able to prioritize work given organizational and client needs;
  • Ability to zealously and creatively advocate for clients with strong issue-spotting and problem-solving skills;
  • Ability to and excitement to travel regularly to prisons and jails throughout California, approximately 2-4 days per month;
  • Possession of a valid Driver’s license; and
  • Spanish proficiency.

Compensation & Benefits: This Staff Attorney position is a full-time, exempt position, with a competitive salary commensurate with experience. Employment benefits at R&R include:

  • Medical, vision and dental care;
  • Employer-sponsored 403(b) retirement plan;
  • Internal and external professional development opportunities;
  • Three (3) weeks of paid time off per year, plus holiday closures, including Juneteenth, and Indigenous Peoples’ Day as well as additional office closure around the December holidays;
  • Four (4) hours of Activism Time each month for employees to engage in social justice activities of their choosing, pending supervisor approval; and
  • Sabbatical Program for eligible employees after five (5) years of service.

Application Instructions: To apply for this position, please send a resume, cover letter, a legal writing sample of no more than 10 pages, and at least three references with contact information in an email directed to Jamie Popper at jpopper@rootandrebound.org with “Staff Attorney for People Incarcerated in CA Application” in the subject line. Resumes without a cover letter, writing samples, and references will not be reviewed. Applications preferred by June 22, 2022, but will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. No phone calls, please.

Root & Rebound is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals including formerly incarcerated and/or system-involved individuals, people of color, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender variant individuals. Individuals with lived experience with the criminal justice system are strongly encouraged to apply.