Data Scientist/Senior Data Scientist

Job description

In the face of the danger posed by COVID to people incarcerated in prisons and jails, the UCLA Prison Law and Policy Program launched the UCLA COVID Behind Bars Data Project in March 2020. Currently a team of seven staff and dozens of volunteers, the Project tracks the spread and impact of COVID in prisons and jails and advocates for greater transparency and accountability around the pandemic response of the carceral system.

The Project seeks a Senior Data Scientist or Data Scientist to join our interdisciplinary team of data scientists and policy researchers to obtain, process, and analyze COVID data from carceral facilities, including state and federal prisons, county and city jails, immigration detention centers, and juvenile detention centers.

We are a small team and work collaboratively, though remotely. The work we produce is intended for both technical and broader public audiences. Examples include the following:
  • Data to power the CDC's Correctional Facility COVID Data Tracker
  • Published research in public health journals (e.g., JAMA, AJPM, MMWR)
  • Blog posts and white papers on data trends and policies related to the pandemic behind bars
  • Social media posts drawing attention to outbreaks and other urgent issues
  • Carceral mortality dataset and associated research
Responsibilities include the following:
  • Accountable for data pipelines which scrape and compile data from a range of sources using R
  • Developing and reviewing reproducible code from team members to integrate and standardize disparate datasets
  • Analyzing and communicating findings from data and statistical analyses to various audiences (e.g., the public, journalists, legislators, litigators, advocates, funders)
  • Partner with nontechnical stakeholders to set data objectives and develop detailed project execution plans
Required qualifications include the following:
  • Proficiency using R or another programming language to manipulate data and draw insights from large, complex datasets
  • Experience working with diverse collaborators with varying levels of data literacy
  • Familiarity with git/GitHub or another version control system
  • Experience working with diverse collaborators with varying levels of data literacy
  • Familiarity or interest in working with public health and/or criminal justice data
  • Outstanding leadership, judgment, attention to detail, and the ability to foster a collaborative, remote working environment
Preferred qualifications include the following:
  • Experience planning and executing quantitative and qualitative data projects including analysis, archiving, or collection
  • Experience with different project management methodologies and an interest in developing the best fit for a variety of projects
  • Prior experience building or maintaining productionized ETL pipelines in R or Python
  • Experience with web-scraping or using OCR to convert data from unstructured sources to a machine-readable format
  • Experience creating impactful data visualizations for social media and reports
  • Lived experience with and/or knowledge of the criminal legal system
This position will begin immediately and is funded through January 2023, with a possible extension depending on need and funding. The work will be remote; applicants need not reside in California. The Senior Data Scientist or Data Scientist will be supervised by the Project Director. The salary will be $70,000 - $80,000 per annum with limited benefits including health insurance.

Percentage of Time:

Shift Start:
9:00 am

Shift End:
5:00 pm

Qualifications for Position




Bachelor's degree in a related field or equivalent combination of education and experience.


Familiarity with the criminal justice system.


Experience with Python, R, or a similar statistical computer languages to manipulate data and draw insights from large data sets.


Experience managing large and diverse research teams with varying levels of data science literacy.


Desire to work in a collaborative and diverse environment.


Outstanding initiative, judgment, attention to detail, ability to work independently and problem solve creatively.


Exceptional analytical, writing, and editing ability.


Demonstrated ability to present research findings in written, verbal, or electronic formats to be understood by various audiences to arrive jointly at decisions, conclusions, or solutions.


Ability to work after hours or evenings and weekends, as needed, to fulfill job responsibilities.


Additional Posting Information

Bargaining Unit:
99-Policy Covered

Application Deadline:

External Posting Date:

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