Research Director


University of California Los Angeles


Requisition Number: 38197


Salary: $5,067 – $11,183 monthly


Position Description:


American prisons are deadly but obscure places. The Behind Bars Data Project’s carceral mortality database is the only comprehensive, public accounting of the most basic fact about mortality behind bars: how many people died across state and federal prisons in recent years. Beginning in 2019 just before prisons and jails across the country became the epicenters of COVID outbreak the federal government effectively ceased its publication, and much of its collection, of carceral mortality data. This reporting failure seriously impedes the public’s ability to know who is dying in prison, and why, what racial disparities exist in mortality outcomes, and, ultimately, what can be done to reduce preventable deaths, improve conditions inside, and hold officials accountable. The Behind Bars Data Project’s data and analyses serve as a partial replacement for and, in significant ways, improvement upon the reporting that the federal government has effectively ended.

The Behind Bars Data Project obtains and cleans data from public records requests, compiles and publishes the data, and employs established public health research methodologies to understand its implications. Via its research and advocacy, the Project supports further oversight and reform of prison systems around the country while advocating for a renewed federal commitment to documenting deaths in custody. In addition, the Project collaborates with advocates, reporters, researchers, litigators, policymakers, and more to make sure that data are available, intelligible, and usable for their purposes.


With a new funding commitment starting in February 2023, the Project will begin a two-year focus on all-cause mortality in U.S. prisons. The Project will produce annual updates to its nationwide database of deaths in prison and intends to expand the database to better document the causes and circumstances of deaths in custody across agencies. The Project’s research agenda will include national- and state-level demography of mortality in prisons and case studies on facility-level prison conditions that may drive mortality.


We are a small team and work collaboratively, though remotely. The work we produce is intended for both technical and broader public audiences.


The Research Director will supervise the team’s Data Scientist. While the Research Director will learn from the Project’s previous research on COVID and carceral settings, our carceral mortality research agenda will be a significant pivot for the team. As such, the Research Director will be responsible for new project plans, methodological strategies, outreach to other researchers, incorporation of outside datasets, and internal collaborations to maximize impact on policy and practice.


The Research Director will be a public health expert, preferably with specialty experience in epidemiological research involving vulnerable and ideally justice-involved populations


Special Instructions:


The target salary range for this position is between the posted minimum and $8,333.33 monthly.


This position will begin in February 2023 and is fully funded through January 2025, with an extension likely possible but dependent on additional fundraising.


For full application instructions and position description, please visit: https://apptrkr.com/3815324


The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy, https://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000376/DiscHarassAffirmAction


Copyright ©2022 Jobelephant.com Inc. All rights reserved.