Policy Director

Policy · Oakland, California
Department Policy
Employment Type Full-Time
Compensation $72-90K DOE

 About UnCommon Law

UnCommon Law fights to ensure that all people incarcerated for violent crime have access to healing, justice, and effective legal representation.

Through our unique, trauma-informed model of advocacy, we provide the space currently missing in the system for healing, accountability, and safe pathways home from prison. In developing new self-narratives, the people we serve are able to more effectively disrupt violence inside and outside prison and become leaders who change negative societal narratives about those incarcerated for violent crime. Our groundbreaking approach is changing policy and outcomes, driven by the voices and experiences of system-impacted communities.

About UnCommon Law's Policy Team

For the past fourteen years, UnCommon Law has fought for legal pathways home for incarcerated clients, primarily through the discretionary parole process. As we have become subject matter experts, we’ve also engaged in informal policy advocacy to elevate the rights of incarcerated people in California, particularly people serving long or life sentences for serious or violent crimes. The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the need for fundamental, structural change in the parole process in order to truly impact rates of incarceration. UnCommon Law has created an aggressive policy framework to outline major areas for system change. With the support of a Policy Director, we will be positioned to relay the lessons we have learned sitting across from our clients in prisons and advocating for them in front of the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) to the ears of policymakers in Sacramento. Our policy advocacy is centered on the experiences and perspectives of currently and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones, and it will include efforts to change public narratives about people convicted of serious and violent crimes.


About the Role

This is the first time UnCommon Law will have a Policy Director. In this new role, the Policy Director will play a leadership role building UnCommon Law’s policy platform, using our policy framework, which highlights five areas for system change, as a starting point. This role will also be public-facing, forging relationships and partnerships with community members, policy makers, and partner organizations, and actively working in coalition-building. We are looking for a visionary and adaptable leader, with lived experience of incarceration (either personal or a loved one) and demonstrated experience in policymaking to build and lead our Policy program. An ideal candidate shares UnCommon Law’s passion for justice and healing for people incarcerated for serious and violent crimes.


This is a full-time position.


We encourage people who have been incarcerated or have loved ones incarcerated to apply.


  • Build upon the existing Policy Framework to develop a robust policy strategy for the next three years, including a legislative agenda
  • Execute against that strategy, including:
    • Build and participate in coalitions with partner organizations and communities
    • Draft & support Bills through the legislative cycle, including Legislative sponsorship, outreach, and ongoing advocacy needed to pass Bills
    • Establish a fact-base, including personal accounts and broader statistics, that supports UnCommon Law’s policy agenda
    • Lead public education around policy and policy impacts, including forums and communications inside California State prisons
  • Lead the Policy team (including managing the Policy Associate)
  • Play an organizational leadership role to build and ensure coordinated advocacy efforts
  • Center the voices and experiences of currently & formerly incarcerated people, particularly those with Parole Board experience


  • Policy experience: Demonstrated experience in policymaking, including knowledge of existing California state laws and correctional policies that impact currently and formerly incarcerated people
  • Community leadership: Demonstrated ability to partner with and influence diverse stakeholders, including policy makers, community members, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones, and other advocacy groups or organizations
  • Team leadership: Experience managing a team and leading cross-functional collaboration. Experience incorporating input as well as setting a vision
  • Strategic mindset: Experience thinking and working strategically; ability to think imaginatively about the possibilities for decarceration and to plan and execute against a strategy taking into account emergent opportunities

 Application Instructions

Please submit a resume and a cover letter describing your interest and relevant experience for the role, along with contact information for two professional or academic references to our hiring portal (https://uncommonlaw.bamboohr.com/jobs/). Applicants who submit cover letters that are not tailored to the position or the organization will not be considered.


Please note that all correspondence in the hiring process will be through the BambooHR portal. Following the submission of your application, you should receive an automatic response (via email) thanking you for your application. If you do not receive this, please check your Spam folder.

UCL is committed to providing an inclusive, welcoming, and culturally responsive environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients. UCL does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, or prior contact with the criminal justice system. We strongly encourage applications from people impacted by incarceration as well as from traditionally underrepresented communities. 

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  • Location
    Oakland, California
  • Department
  • Employment Type
  • Compensation
    $72-90K DOE