Position Announcement

Social Worker

Innocence Project New Orleans

 

Start Date: Immediate

Open Until Filled

Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is seeking a full-time social worker to work alongside a team of passionate and dedicated advocates. The Social Worker will provide clinical and case management support to people who have been wrongfully convicted or unjustly sentenced preparing to be released from incarceration and after they have been released. The Social Worker will also supervise staff in the Client Services Division. This position will report directly to IPNO’s Executive Director.

About IPNO

IPNO frees innocent people sentenced to prison and those serving unjust sentences. We recognize the root causes of wrongful convictions and unjust sentences as systemic racism and inequities. We work to expose and address these root causes by sharing our clients’ stories in court, the legislature, the community and the media. We support our clients living well and fully in the world after their release.

Position Summary

The Social Worker is the supervisor of IPNO’s Client Services Division. The Client Services Division provides comprehensive support to IPNO’s clients before and after their release from prison, support which can go on for many years. IPNO clients are freed or exonerated through our Postconviction Innocence Representation Program or our Unjust Punishment Project (UPP), which frees individuals given overly harsh sentences grossly disproportionate to the crimes of which they were convicted. Many of IPNO’s clients have served decades in prison fighting for their freedom. In prison, they have been denied adequate medical and mental health services, meaningful opportunities to gain life and work skills, and have encountered and endured physical harm, emotional distress and trauma.

The Social Worker supervises a client advocate and a service fellow assisting with re-entry support. The Social Worker also coordinates directly with IPNO’s attorneys and investigators to identify additional client needs.

As the supervisor of the Client Services Division, the Social Worker ensures we help our clients and their loved ones prepare mentally, emotionally and practically for release while our clients are still in prison, then helps them transition and navigate the daily challenges they may face upon release. The struggle of adjusting to life outside prison after being freed has been described by some clients as much more challenging than they anticipated. Such challenges may include finding secure and safe housing, getting connected to benefits and social services, reuniting and renegotiating family relationships after prison, financial fluency, learning technology, seeking medical and/or mental health evaluations and follow-up, counseling, and so much more. IPNO does not have a “re-entry program,” in the sense of support that is time-limited or follows a pre-determined curriculum or structure. We support clients based on their individual evolving needs for as long as they need our support.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Meet with incarcerated clients pre-release to begin building a relationship, evaluate needs (mental health, substance use, medical, etc.), and develop a plan for support both pre- and post-release. This may include trauma assessments and bio-psycho-social evaluations. Gather and evaluate information relating to employment history and barriers to employment, housing, physical functioning, mental and behavioral well-being, and capacity for independent living.
  • Prepare for release: Depending on individual circumstances, work on securing housing, clothing, documentation, benefits, medical care, and other needs of the person; depending on the posture of their case, prepare sentencing/release advocacy memoranda, and testify in court or before the parole board as needed.
  • Make referrals to agencies and other providers of medical/dental, mental health, counseling, behavioral health, educational and employment services as needed.
  • Upon release, schedule client appointments, arrange transportation to appointments and advocate at all stages to successfully obtain needed services.
  • Develop on-going service treatment plans as needed and monitor client progress toward delineated objectives.
  • Identify and provide effective, trauma-informed, acute crisis responses for our clients and their impacted family members. This may include referring clients to community resources and providers once crisis has been temporarily stabilized.
  • Work closely with families, friends and others in clients’ support networks.
  • Develop effective working relationships with external partners such as other re-entry organizations and community mental health providers.
  • Prepare reports to IPNO’s board of directors and funders, document client needs and status, and testify in court as needed. Maintain a detailed record of client data, services provided and outcomes. Prepare narrative and statistical reports.
  • Represent IPNO on external committees when appropriate and participate in community outreach activities.
  • Supervise all aspects of the Client Services Division and maintain accurate, complete records and case management notes.
  • Responsible for managing client advocate and other staff members of the Client Services Division.

IPNO is a small nonprofit so, in addition to their primary duties, the Social Worker will be expected to assist as necessary with other aspects of IPNO’s work such as fundraising, public education and advocacy, special events, policy efforts, and office administration. IPNO is a client-focused office where teamwork and collaboration to ensure IPNO’s overall effectiveness and success are expected and valued.

Requirements for the Role

  • Must be a LMSW, LCSW, or equivalent.
  • At least three years of case management and/or direct clinical work.
  • Familiarity navigating federal and Louisiana systems relevant to the role.
  • Computer literacy, including experience using common office software such as Microsoft Office Suite. Database management experience.
  • The ability to communicate and work cooperatively with a wide range of people, including government personnel and officials, law enforcement, attorneys, records custodians, students, incarcerated individuals and their families, and other members of the community.
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • Strong oral advocacy skills.
  • Creative problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills and time management skills.
  • Ability to work in a team, and receive and provide constructive feedback.
  • Ability to effectively delegate to and supervise members of the Division.
  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Willingness to travel  and to work on weekends and evenings as necessary.

Preferences for the Role

  • Existing ties to Louisiana.
  • Knowledge/experience concerning:
    • Louisiana’s criminal legal system.
    • Impact of race in the criminal legal system.
    • Mass incarceration

Salary and Benefits

The salary for this position $65,000 – $74,000 commensurate with applicant’s experience. IPNO offers a very competitive benefits package including medical/dental coverage, 30 days of paid vacation, and 401k match. We observe federal holidays, and the office is closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day’s Day.

Application

The position will be open until filled. Please e-mail a cover letter, resume, 3 references, and a writing sample (no longer than 3 pages) to openings@ip-no.org. Please include a salary demand in your cover letter. Please include the job title in the e-mail subject line. Do not call.

IPNO is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse work force reflective of the diverse communities we serve and support, with regard to race, culture, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, and caregiver status. IPNO works to advance racial justice and equity. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and legal system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.