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Peer Specialist


POSTED: 2/8/18

Location:         Queens (Long Island City)     Hours: TBD (Some Eve/Weekends Required)

Salary:             $40,000                                  Status: Full Time; non-exempt


The Criminal Justice Agency (CJA), a non-profit organization under contract with the City of New York to provide pre-trial and research services to the courts, operates a Supervised Release Program in Queens Criminal Court.

The program, which operates during the day and night court in Queens screens defendants charged with non-violent felony and misdemeanor offenses that present a substantial likelihood of detention.  CJA screens targeted defendants for release at criminal court arraignment, subject to specific conditions including maintaining face-to-face and telephone contact with the program, participating in a an assessment process to identify needs such as substance abuse and mental health, and agreeing to program monitoring of court appearances and re-arrests.

This is a great opportunity for a dynamic, resourceful, service oriented individual with a background in providing support to high needs populations with criminal court involvement, and a commitment to helping clients avoid harmful behaviors leading to re-arrest and disconnection from community support systems.


  • Utilize evidence-based support techniques to engage individuals who have behavioral health needs in order to support them in completing all supervision appointments and court appearances, and to support linkage to community-based treatment and other support services as needed.
  • Provide advocacy, outreach and engagement, self-help tools, recovery supports, transitional supports, and pre-crisis/crisis supports in home or community settings.
  • Work with a diverse population of participants in a respectful manner, using a strengths-based approach.
  • Review participants’ release conditions and assist the Case Managers in supplementing supportive or therapeutic services.
  • Facilitate clients’ connection with supportive services by making referrals and accompanying the clients to appointments, when necessary.
  • Attend court dates with clients who are anxious or apprehensive about court proceedings.
  • Conduct both individual sessions and support groups for clients with substance abuse and/or behavioral health disorders, who may be resistant to or awaiting formal treatment.
  • Utilize self-disclosure in an appropriate manner that is supportive of clients’ recovery and focused on the individual’s needs.
  • Provide vocational support to individuals in the program, including resume development, referral to training and career services programs, and interview preparation.
  • Conduct outreach to build/strengthen relationships with community resources.
  • Maintain face-to-face and telephone contact with clients for on-going support
  • Assist clients in developing recovery plans with realistic goals (housing, employment, family support, social/recreational, cultural) and make referrals and provide support to facilitate success in reaching those goals.
  • Accurately and efficiently document assessments and progress notes in an electronic case management system within the expected time frame.


  • Minimum of a HS Diploma with OASAS/OMH Peer Specialist Certification, preferred. Other peer specialist training such as Howie the Harp Peer Advocacy and Training Center Peer Specialist Program will be considered.
  • Lived experience in the criminal justice system
  • Bilingual, preferred
  • 2 years of experience as a Peer Advocate, Counselor or Specialist
  • Knowledge of NYC Court Operations, preferred
  • Must be able to provide references and demonstrated ability to lead groups

The successful candidate will possess a combination of the following knowledge, skills, and experiences:

  • Familiarity with the Alternative to Detention (ATD), Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) or other advocacy program models
  • Working knowledge of treatment programs (substance abuse, mental health, etc.) and other support services (GED, job training, YIP, etc.) for referrals
  • Ability to exercise sound and quick judgment
  • Excellent communication skills to facilitate groups sessions with clients who present various needs and challenges
  • Excellent time and self-management skills
  • Computer literate with the ability to quickly adapt to changing technology
  • Must be willing to work evening and weekend hours, if needed
  • Willingness to travel via public transportation



TO APPLY: Please submit Cover Letter & Resume

Note: Only those candidates being considered will be contacted. No phone calls please.


CJA offers a very generous benefit plan including health, dental and vision insurance, four weeks’ vacation, paid holidays and a retirement plan with employer matching contributions.


The New York City Criminal Justice Agency is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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