Internships at Solitary Watch

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING APPLICATIONS FOR SUMMER 2022 INTERNSHIPS IS APRIL 20, 2022.

Overview

Solitary Watch is a nonprofit national watchdog group that investigates, documents, and disseminates information on the widespread use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails. As the only site dedicated solely to solitary confinement across the United States, our mission is to provide the public—as well as practicing attorneys, legal scholars, law enforcement and corrections officers, policymakers, educators, advocates, people in prison and their families—with the first centralized source of unfolding news, original reporting, firsthand accounts, background research, and advocacy tools on this vital domestic human rights issue, in order to bring about awareness, debate, and change.

Solitary Watch offers interns an opportunity to gain writing, research, and outreach skills while working on an important domestic human rights issue. Especially encouraged to apply are individuals with a background or interest in journalism, law, and/or criminal justice; those interested in utilizing media to advance social justice; and formerly incarcerated individuals and others directly impacted by the criminal justice system.

Interns work a flexible part-time schedule. The minimum time commitment is 8 hours/week during the school year and 12 hours/week during the summer; more is welcome. Start and end dates are somewhat flexible.

Solitary Watch does not have a traditional office and has always operated remotely. Interns must have the ability to work independently, manage their own schedules, and complete tasks by set deadlines. While we do prefer interns in the Washington, DC, and New York City areas, we will also consider well-qualified interns in other locations. Those who live locally will have the opportunity to meet periodically with Solitary Watch staff in person as safety protocols allow, and all interns will attend weekly staff meetings conducted via Zoom. 

Solitary Watch is a small operation, and unfortunately we are unable to offer paid internships at this time. However, we are happy to work with your university to fulfill the supervision requirements of any college internship program. Costs related to projects you work on for Solitary Watch, including transportation, telephone, etc., will be covered. If our budget allows, a stipend may be made available to interns who are formerly incarcerated/survivors of solitary; please inquire about this opportunity in your cover letter.

Description of Work

Interns conduct research, create original content for Solitary Watch, help build the reach and readership of the site, and assist with special projects as needed. Along with routine administrative work, interns will generally have the opportunity to take on several of the following tasks:

•  Assist staff members with research for articles and reports.

•  Research and draft an original fact sheet, news story, or other content as needed.

•  Assist in receiving, processing, and responding to correspondence with people in prison.

•  Assist with outreach using social media.

•  Research and update resources on solitary confinement.

•  Help manage and maintain databases and mailing lists.

•  Attend virtual briefings and panel discussions.

Requirements

•  Ability to work independently and see projects through from beginning to end (essential!)

•  Attention to detail and accuracy

•  Strong interest in human rights / civil liberties / criminal justice issues

•  Excellent writing and online research skills

•  Basic web posting and social media skills (no coding)

•  Access to your own computer and cell phone

•  Reporting experience and/or video or graphic design skills a plus

Application Process

Applications should be emailed to Sara Rain Tree at sraintree@solitarywatch.org no later than Wednesday, April 20. Please attach one Word or PDF document including all of the following: a cover letter stating why you are interested in this internship, your resume, one writing sample of no more than 5 pages (shorter is preferred), and contact information for one reference. Please use the following as the subject line of your email and the name of your document: [Last Name] Summer 2022 Internship Application.

Help Expose the Hidden World of Solitary Confinement

Accurate information and authentic storytelling can serve as powerful antidotes to ignorance and injustice. We have helped generate public awareness, mainstream media attention, and informed policymaking on what was once an invisible domestic human rights crisis.

Only with your support can we continue this groundbreaking work, shining light into the darkest corners of the U.S. criminal punishment system.

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