The Center for the Study of Women is hiring a Graduate Student Researcher for the Life without Parole – Special Circumstances Conviction Project.

A collaboration between the Center for the Study of Women (CSW) and the Legislative Team of the Drop LWOP Coalition, the Special Circumstances Conviction Project (SCCP) seeks to analyze the prevalence and impact of the use of special circumstances in criminal sentencing in California. Under California law, “special circumstances” delineate the conditions under which people can be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP). Despite the severity of the sentence and its impact on California’s communities, there has been to date no comprehensive collection or analysis of what specific convictions have led to over 5000 people serving LWOP, nor how race, age, gender, and other factors may affect the sentences they receive.

Initiated by Joanne Scheer, founder of the Felony Murder Elimination Project, and Daniel Trautfield, Drop LWOP policy analyst and organizer, SCCP collects and analyses data gleaned through Public Records Act Requests and disseminates findings to legislators, policymakers, non-governmental organizations, scholars, and impacted communities.

DEADLINE: Thursday, March 4, 2021

SCCP will be performing a comprehensive analysis of available special circumstance conviction records, collected through Public Records Acts to California District Attorney’s Offices, Superior Courts, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Data will be analyzed with the purpose of evaluating California’s criminal sentencing scheme and the resulting disparities in race, gender, county of conviction and age at sentencing.


Duties will include, but are not limited to:

  • Reconcile data from multiple sources and in various formats into comprehensive database
  • Procure data from online web services – (Superior Courts and CDCR)
  • Work collaboratively to strategize on how to utilize data to achieve specific project goals
  • Provide strategy for organizing and interpreting data in the service of project goals
  • Utilize existing public data sources to compare and contextualize special circumstance conviction statistics


Registered UCLA graduate student (master’s or doctorate) in the 2020-2021 academic year. The GSR must be registered as a full-time student (enrolled in a minimum of 12 units) during the academic year and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 throughout the duration of the appointment.

GSR step is dependent on degree status and experience. Maximum of 24% time (no fee remission) for the remainder of winter quarter 2021 and expanding to 25% time with tuition waiver in spring quarter, contingent on satisfactory performance.


  • Experience working with quantitative data sets – preference for individuals who can utilize data analysis programs (e.g., Python, R)
  • Interest in criminal legal reform, restorative justice, prison abolition
  • Familiarity with criminal legal landscape
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a collaborative team during meetings and discussions
  • Strong organizational skills, including:
    • Demonstrated ability to set and meet deadlines and priorities
    • Ability to organize and present information effectively and concisely


Review of applications will start on Thursday, March 4, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. Interviews will begin as soon as possible.

  1. Cover letter (1-2 pages) with a brief description of the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this position
  2. Current CV or resume
  3. Names and contact information of two references


Please submit your application online via Submittable.

Review of applications will begin on Thursday, February 4, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. Interviews will begin as soon as possible.

For questions, please contact the CSW Management Services Officer, Rosa Chung, at