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 currently the director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey.
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, 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). 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 has led delegations in juvenile justice to mainland China, Australia, New Zealand, and Cuba. Bush-Baskette utilities her experiences as a legislator and gubernatorial cabinet member, to transfer tools to the participants by which they may empower
themselves to understand and participate in policymaking at their state and local levels. As director of the Center, she is 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, housing, education, social justice, criminal justice, children and juveniles, and health. Bush-Baskette is currently writing two books; one is about the impact of the war on drugs on the incarceration of Black
women in the federal prison system and the
second is about self-empowerment.