Criminal Justice Intern (Oakland, CA)


PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works®. PolicyLink collaborates with a broad range of partners to implement strategies to ensure that everyone — including those from low-income communities of color — can contribute to and benefit from economic growth and prosperity.

PolicyLink operates a summer internship program for continuing graduate students (master's or doctoral) in public policy, urban planning, and related fields. Internships are paid, and the duration is generally 10 weeks. PolicyLink occasionally hosts interns during the academic year, depending on project needs and student interest.

We strive to provide each intern with two main opportunities: 1) a meaningful and challenging assignment (or set of assignments) that provides a chance to apply and hone the skills they are learning in graduate school to influence public policy; and 2) the opportunity to learn about the process of policy change and the way that PolicyLink accomplishes our mission of advancing economic, social, and racial equity through policy change.

Each intern plays an integral role in helping our organization further policy impact through research, communications, capacity building, and advocacy. We have hosted interns from nearly 20 different universities and colleges, in programs such as urban planning, public policy, public health, community development, information management, and journalism/communications.

Interns gain insight into the field by assuming responsibility for a project under the guidance of experienced professionals. This year, four internship positions are based in our Oakland office and one in New York. The internship starts June 3 and ends August 9. Review the PolicyLink website ( to learn more about our work.


PolicyLink is seeking a continuing graduate student intern to provide research support to its Police Accountability and Alternatives program. This effort focuses on (1) dismantling institutional barriers to police accountability; and (2) rightsizing the role of law enforcement. PolicyLink prioritizes improving policing at a systems-level — particularly in communities of color — through structures and policies that increase police accountability and decrease criminalization and incarceration. At the same time, mandates — while necessary — can be difficult to implement and easily circumvented. PolicyLink therefore also works to challenge untested assumptions about the relationship between safety and law enforcement, shift public funding to address root causes of poverty and violence, and support community-based alternatives that can fulfill police functions in a safer, more effective way.

Assignments will include:

  • Research memo on The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, including:
    • criticism and effect on over-policing and mass incarceration;
    • specific policies that would repair the harms of the 1994 bill; and
    • policy ideas that would create a new vision of safety and security at the federal level, including invest/divest and restorative justice frameworks.
  • Participation on the Police Accountability and Alternatives team, including communicating with coalition members and community partners.

Desired qualifications and skills:

  • Graduate student in public policy, public administration, law, public health, community organizing, urban planning, criminal justice, or related field
  • Experience and/or academic coursework related to public safety and/or police reform
  • Demonstrated interest in advancing police accountability
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Great team player with experience working effectively with diverse stakeholders
  • Ability to work independently and take initiative

Application Process

PolicyLink is accepting applications for summer 2019 internships. The deadline for applications is March 15, 2019. Candidates may apply for up to two internship opportunities.


Please submit the application components in a single document so we can print double-sided. Interviews will take place during the months of February and March. Applicants will be contacted by telephone to schedule an interview that will take place in person or over the telephone.

Please note: Only candidates selected for an interview will be notified.

If you have additional questions, please email Please do not use this email address to apply for an internship; your application will not be considered.

PolicyLink is committed to building and maintaining a diverse staff and a welcoming workplace.