Biography for Dr. Stephanie Bush-Baskette, JD, PhD
Dr. Stephanie Bush-Baskette received her baccalaureate degree from Cornell University, law degree from American University, and doctorate from Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice. She is the founding president of Sojourn Institute LLC through which she provides policy consulting and life coaching. She is also a mediator, collaborative lawyer, and attorney.
Prior to beginning an academic and research career, Dr. Bush-Baskette practiced law for several years, was elected to and served in the New Jersey State Legislature, and was a member of the Gubernatorial Cabinet and served as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. While in the New Jersey State Legislature, she successfully sponsored laws that raised the minimum wage in New Jersey to $5.05 an hour (in 1990), and instituted the first Family Leave Law in the country (1988). She was also the majority whip chair of the Senior Citizens Committee, vice chair of the Financial Institutions Committee, vice chair of the New Jersey Criminal Justice Commission, and chair of the Commission’s Alternatives to Incarceration Committee. As a legislator, Dr. Bush-Baskette also sat on other key committees.
Dr. Bush-Baskette resigned from the Legislature during her third term to join the New Jersey Governor’s Cabinet as the State Commissioner of Community Affairs. As Commissioner, she was responsible for a $700 million budget and responsible for the Divisions on: Aging, Women, Community Resources, and Housing. She also sat as the chairperson of the New Jersey Department of Housing and Mortgage Financing.
Upon leaving public life, Dr. Bush-Baskette earned her PhD in criminal justice. She was recruited as a faculty member by Florida State University’s School of Criminal Justice and Criminology and then recruited by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD). Dr. Bush-Baskette was a senior researcher and director of government relations for NCCD. Dr. Bush-Baskette’s writing and research interests include investigating the development, application, and effects of public policy, with particular focus issues that impact the lives of people in urban areas, including: drug policies and their impact on black women; the effect on children of having a parent who is incarcerated; juvenile justice; gender; and race/ethnicity. She is currently writing two books. She has led delegations in juvenile justice to mainland China, Australia, New Zealand, and Cuba.
Through Sojourn Institute LLC, Dr. Bush-Baskette utilizes her experiences as a researcher, writer, legislator and gubernatorial cabinet member, to promote informed, evidence based policy making in the public and private sectors. Her areas of focus as a policy consultant include but are not limited to: prisoner reentry, women in the criminal justice system, and health. Dr. Bush-Baskette is a life coach and uses her experiences and expertise to work with empowered women to live their best lives by assisting them to consciously connect with who they are, what they want, and how to get there. She coaches individuals and groups in areas of: health and well-being, relationships, change and transitions, career, and business.
As director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, at Rutgers University, she was in the optimal position to connect researchers and research with citizens, businesses and policymakers, in order to promote informed policy making on issues such as: urban development, health, housing, education, social justice, criminal justice, children and juveniles, and health.
Dr. Bush-Baskette is a visiting prfessor at Rutgers University. She teaches or has taught graduate and undergraduate level courses. The courses have included: Morals and Administration (Ethics); Diversity in Criminal Justice; Race and Crime; Juvenile Justice; Gender and Crime; Crime and Policy; Juvinile Delinquency and Justice; Criminology; Crime in Other Cultures; Urban Politics and Public Policy; and, Leadership in Public Administration.
Dr. Bush-Baskette is invited to speak throughout the country. She is a member of the several boards of trustees and is a member of the New Jersey State Ethics Commission.
Bush-Baskette is a nationally sought after speaker and consultant and has been invited to testify as an expert before a New Jersey State Legislative Special Committee.
A copy of Dr. Bush-Baskette's resume can be accessed at: