Vera Institute Of Justice Reviews | Glassdoor

Vera Institute Of Justice Reviews

Updated June 13, 2017
27 reviews

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3.6
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Nicholas R. Turner
7 Ratings

27 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Chaos and miserable office environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Vera Institute Of Justice full-time

    Pros

    There are opportunities for movement in the organization since most positions have turned over at least once in the past three years.

    A great place with great opportunities - so long as you're one of the "in group."

    Cons

    Constant turnover at all levels - which has led to extremely low morale among most, apart from those in the in group. Management either doesn't notice or doesn't care.

    Almost every woman in a position of leadership in research has left after being passed over for promotion - or finding it unbearable after being promoted. Social environment that is a mix of snake pit and middle school. If you're not in the "in group," it's miserable.

    A fundraising video that had staff talk about their dreams. Their dreams. Seriously.

    IT systems would have been outdated in 2009.

    Advice to Management

    fewer "Ideas Festivals," more research


  2. Helpful (8)

    "great mission, disappointing leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Research Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Vera Institute Of Justice full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Vera is a progressive organization with a lot of smart and committed staff. Staff are exposed to different researchers, speakers, and leaders in the criminal justice field through different talks hosted by the Institute.

    Cons

    Poor management. Limited growth potential. Unnecessarily hierarchical. Vera's centers and programs operate in silos and could benefit from greater collaboration and cross-pollination. Certain senior research staff do not know what they are doing and there is no research director (and hasn't been one for years) or any qualified researcher with whom the staff can raise research concerns. Even when concerns are raised, they not addressed.

    Advice to Management

    My best advice to management is to respect your staff. You hire a lot of smart, ambitious, and dedicated professionals but are not honest about the lack of potential for growth. If you don't mind having an incredibly high turnover then why not tell staff before they are hired that there is limited growth potential and that they shouldn't expect to stay more than two years or less? For an "innovative" organization you would be surprised by how bored most of your over qualified staff are on a day-to-day basis. Mid-level staff are punished for trying to do more to further the cause or mission of their program rather than encouraged and valued for their work. With better leadership you could be doing A LOT more with the money you receive.

  3. Helpful (5)

    "Think twice"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Vera Institute Of Justice (More than a year)

    Pros

    Vera does good, important work. Probably a better place to work if you're young in your career. Lots of very smart people, though most are not able to fulfill their potential. Note Michael Jacobsen has not been the CEO since August of 2013; current CEO is Nicholas Turner.

    Cons

    One of the most policed environments I've ever been in. Not much room for creativity or autonomy. Very insecure CEO who talks much but says little new or unique. There's a definite lack of diversity of opinion, which may also point to the CEO's insecurities. The funding is constantly precarious and the CEO has brought in only $25K since starting over two years ago, so I'm skeptical of his longevity potential. There's also a weird, celebrity-like worship of people who have been incarcerated (at least those who admit to it). It seems few that work at Vera have had real-world experience and exist in a safe, unchallenged ivory tower.

    Advice to Management

    I think new management is needed to resurrect Vera's reputation as a leader in the field.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Case Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vera Institute Of Justice full-time

    Pros

    Experience to do field work, interdisciplinary team

    Cons

    No support from senior staff or management, unrealistic expectations

    Advice to Management

    Pay your employees more and lessen the case load to retain employees.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Uneven Workplace"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    They do fascinating work. Admin jobs there are very frustrating in part because of this - you see great things going on around you with which you don't get a chance or have time to help.

    Cons

    Everyone's overworked. Some people are underpaid. Some of management shouldn't be there (the manager I had was one of the worst bosses I've met, let alone worked with).

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees. Look them in the eye. Don't try to control everything. Live a life outside of work.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Okay place to work, but there are a lot of limits to working there"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Program Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Program Associate in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Vera Institute Of Justice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Lots of smart and talented people are drawn to Vera. It also hosts lots of interesting programs and projects. Salaries for the nonprofit world tend to be high.

    Cons

    Lots of limits to career advancement. You basically learn what you have to after 1-2 years and then can't move up because it would mean taking your supervisor's job. Since they are well paid and it's a flexible work place they never really leave. My supervisor had less education and like 2 years more experience but had a supervisory title and made like 20 k more than I did. This is pretty common at Vera and people tend to leave when they realize this.

    Advice to Management

    I think you need to think about why so many people leave so quickly. You should also look at how much current supervisors are adding to the team. Are they in that position just because or are they actually contributing something? Also, for being so innovative, most of the upper management is white.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Revolving door for junior level staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Vera Institute Of Justice full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great peers. Collegial environment. Laid back with the hours. Less non-profit and more non-profit consulting culture/ environment.

    Cons

    Extremely low pay for entry-level, junior-level employees. Senior level people get it so good they never want to leave, so it is pretty much a revolving door for anyone who does not direct a program.

    Advice to Management

    Here's a thought: Promote within. Invest in your employees. Keep them engaged.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Good people, frustrating environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Vera Institute Of Justice full-time

    Pros

    Compensation is fair and benefits are good. HR works hard to help employees balance health and life outside of work. My immediate co-workers were very pleasant, interesting people and easy to get along with.

    Cons

    Protocols and various procedures are cumbersome. This leads to a lot of tedious administrative work that feels like it could be streamlined if things were updated. The opportunities for advancement are limited and many people are overworked, again because there is an old-fashioned way of operating. Departments /programs are silos.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in updating and streamlining basic procedures, create more casual interactions between departments and programs.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Case Mgr"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Vera Institute Of Justice full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexibility in doing the needed work

    Cons

    Poor pay for the extremely difficult work done

    Advice to Management

    Employees you value should be paid their worth in order to keep a great team.


  10. "N/A"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vera Institute Of Justice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great company to work for, very flexible and decent salary for a non-profit. The company fights for a great cause which is a great motivation to work there.

    Cons

    You could feel the uncomfortability of racial differences between staff of different race. Which is a joke since they focus on immigration issues. Even among upper management.

    Advice to Management

    Learn to watch and listen. You should incorporate better management training for current upper level staff, and offer training for new staff and older ones when it comes to racial differences in work place environment and comfortability.


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