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Peer Specialist – Queens Supervised Release Program

New York City Criminal Justice Agency

Full-Time | Hybrid

$50,000 - $50,000/yr.


CJA’s work seeks to reduce jail overcrowding and unnecessary detention in New York City. 

Are you a certified Peer Specialist who is interested in assisting program participants in your community? 

Are you interested in helping us implement a more person-centered, recovery-oriented, trauma-informed approach? 

Would you like to help change the way arrested individuals view the criminal justice system? 

Join our team of multi-disciplined professionals!  


The New York City Criminal Justice Agency (CJA) is a not-for-profit service and research organization that operates in partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.  CJA is the City’s main pretrial services agency, combining operations, pilot projects, and research under one roof.  CJA utilizes procedural justice practices to provide pretrial services to over 100,000 persons arrested annually in New York City. Information collected about these arrestees and subsequent case processing is maintained in the agency’s internal and externally shared database systems, which are used to conduct descriptive and evaluation research on arrestee characteristics, case processing and court outcomes, and on issues and potential reforms to criminal justice policy in New York City. CJA’s programs operate in the criminal courts and detention facilities 24 hours a day seven days a week within the 5 boroughs of NYC, employing over 250 employees, citywide. 


CJA operates a Supervised Release Program in Queens Criminal Court. The program, which operates during the day and night court in Queens, screens targeted court involved individuals 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 use and mental health, and agreeing to program monitoring of court appearances and re-arrests.

This is a great opportunity for a dynamic, knowledgeable individual, experienced in dealing with high-needs populations such as those with mental health diagnoses, at-risk youth, and others with social, emotional or developmental challenges, who have criminal court involvement.


Under the supervision of a Peer Supervisor, The Peer Specialist will provide person-centered, recovery-oriented, strength-based, and trauma-informed Peer support to Queens Supervised Release Program participants on a voluntary basis. The Peer Specialist will work as part of an interdisciplinary team alongside Case Managers and licensed Clinicians to provide the most comprehensive support to program participants in a pretrial setting.


  • As part of an interdisciplinary team of Peer Specialists, Case Managers and Licensed Clinicians, the peer specialist will be responsible for managing a caseload of 15 – 20 high-needs (serious mental illness, substance use, homelessness) participants at a time, providing face-to-face, telephonic, and community Peer counseling 
  • Review participants’ release conditions in coordination with assigned case management staff and other service providers, utilize evidence-based support techniques to engage individuals in completing all supervision appointments and court appearances, and provide linkage to community-based treatment and other support services as needed
  • Develop and maintain relationships with participants to provide self-help tools, recovery, transitional, and pre-crisis/crisis supports while utilizing self-disclosure in an appropriate manner to assist with building rapport 
  • Meet with participants in office and community settings to provide emotional support, guidance, advocacy, assistance in navigating systems of care, and attending court dates when a participant is anxious or apprehensive about court proceedings 
  • Provide court-based Peer support to participants upon completion of arraignment, identifying immediate needs or concerns, and facilitating immediate connections to community-based services 
  • Facilitate Peer-led support groups for participants with substance use and/or behavioral health concerns, who may be resistant to, or awaiting formal treatment  
  • Maintain accurate, efficient and timely documentation of participant interactions and progress notes in an electronic case management system., with a focus on accurately collecting data for programmatic research purposes 


  • HS Diploma or equivalency required 
  • NYS Peer Specialist certification OR Recovery Peer Advocate certification required 
  • 2 years of professional experience as a Peer Specialist, Peer Advocate, or Peer Counselor in a Behavioral Health or Criminal Justice setting required
  • Experience providing community-based Peer support required
  • History of lived experience in recovery and/or the criminal justice system required. As an individual who actively participates in their own recovery from mental illness and/or substance use, must be willing to appropriately and effectively utilize their recovery experience to engage and support others 
  • Proficiency in using computer software applications such as Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), email, web browser and database/file management systems required 

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

  • Familiarity with Pretrial/Supervised Release, Alternative to Detention (ATD), Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) or other advocacy program models 
  • Working knowledge of community-based treatment programs (substance use, mental health, etc.) and other support services and resources (housing, education, employment, vocational, etc.) 
  • Ability to maintain professional boundaries and confidentiality in compliance with agency and state guidelines 
  • Must be willing to work evening and weekend hours, as operations expand 
  • Willingness to travel via public transportation to conduct community visits with participants
  • Must be willing to work evening and weekend hours, as operations expand
  • Willingness to travel via public transportation to conduct community visits with participants 


Each employee should embody the following core values in their work at CJA: 

  • Commitment: We are committed to being active partners in criminal justice reform through initiatives and creative problem-solving that evaluates different methods and strategies for alternatives to detention. 
  • Fairness: We are guided by fairness and the presumption of innocence for those who are detained and work with integrity and without bias to protect the privacy and interest of court-involved people and their families. 
  • Innovation: We value curiosity as a driving force to lead the way in pretrial services. We use innovative techniques in research, pilot programs, and engaging justice-involved communities to execute our mission of reducing unnecessary pretrial detention. 

Note: This position is expected to operate on a hybrid schedule with in-person work 4 days per week and one remote day. The successful hire must be able to assume responsibilities that are both remote and on-site, in accordance with CJA policy at the time of hire. Terms and conditions are subject to change based on business needs and prevailing public health guidelines. 

SALARY: $50,000

Location: Long Island City/Kew Gardens 

BENEFITS: CJA offers a very generous benefit plan including health, dental and vision insurance, a comprehensive mental health, and wellness (EAP) plan, four weeks’ vacation, paid holidays, and a retirement plan with employer matching contributions.  CJA is also strongly committed to professional learning and development for its staff members and offers staff varied opportunities for learning and development through partnerships and vendor services for web based, in-person professional development training, as well as in-house job training and development. 

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

CJA is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply. 

Posted On: March 19, 2024

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