Stephanie Bush-Baskette, Esq., Ph.D., CTA-CC

President & Founder of Sojourn Institute, LLC.


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.  Bush-Baskette has served as the city administrator of three municipalities  and has been the chair of two mayor-elect’s transition teams. She is the City Administrator for the City of Bridgeton. She has taught and trained graduate students, as well as governmental administrators and staff in the areas of ethics and government, diversity, and criminal justice. She is an attorney/collaborative lawyer/mediator.  Dr. Bush-Baskette is the president and founder of Sojourn Institute, LLC through which she promotes social justice through research, training, technical assistance, and informed advocacy. She is co-founder and Board member of the national non-profit National Black Women’s Justice Research Institute. Bush-Baskette is a certified life, career/professional, and conflict coach.

In addition to practicing law, Bush-Baskette has had an extensive career in government, academia, and research. Prior to beginning an academic and research career, she was elected to and served in the New Jersey State Legislature. While in the New Jersey State Legislature, she successfully sponsored laws that raised the minimum wage in New Jersey and instituted the first Family Leave Law in the country. She was also the majority whip of the General Assembly, chair of the Assembly’s 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 Gubernatorial Cabinet of Governor Jim Florio where she swerved as the State Commissioner of Community Affairs. As Commissioner, she was responsible for a $700 million budget and oversaw the Divisions on: Aging, Women, Community Resources, and Housing. She also sat as chair of the Board of the New Jersey Department of Housing and Mortgage Financing. 

Upon leaving public life, Dr. Bush-Baskette earned her PhD in criminal justice and entered academia and research. She was recruited as a faculty member by Florida State University’s College 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. As a senior researcher, she focused on projects related to gangs, delinquency, race, gender, and the impact on children of having a parent who is incarcerated. Upon leaving NCCD, Bush-Baskette was the director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University where she led research and disseminated findings on issues related to local governments, including but not limited to: health policy; re-entry of returning citizens from prison; and, ethics. She was also appointed to the New Jersey State Ethics Commission by former Governor Corzine.

Bush-Baskette has travelled internationally in her professional capacities. She has led delegations in juvenile justice to mainland China, Australia, New Zealand, and Cuba for People to People Ambassadors Program; and, presented in Cape Town, South Africa and other national and international venues. During her travels she has spoken about her research and issues such as: ethics, diversity, the intersection of race and gender, re-entry, public policies and politics, and juvenile justice. 

Dr. Bush-Baskette  taught at the university level, which included  undergraduate and graduate level courses at Rutgers University in the School of Criminal Justice,  the Department of Public Administration, Continuing Government Studies, and the Political Science Department. The courses have included: Morals and Administration; Diversity in Criminal Justice; Race and Crime; Urban Politics and Public Policy; Leadership; Juvenile Justice; Criminology; Ethics and Criminal Justice Policies; Punishment and Sentencing; Theories of Crime and Delinquency; Varieties of Crime; and, Crime in Different Cultures/ Comparative Criminology; State Legislatures as Criminal Justice Policy Makers; and, Ethics in Government. 

Dr. Bush-Baskette trains current and aspiring governmental employees and elected officials in the areas of: ethics; diversity; harassment; workplace conduct; and professionalism. She does so as a consultant and adjunct faculty for Rutgers University. Her students have included: doctoral, masters’ and  undergraduate students; municipal elected officials; municipal department directors and staff; county elected officials; county administrators; county employees; county supervisors; state employees; and government officials visiting from other countries. Her training is based upon her: academic credentials; experiences as an elected and appointed official at the state and local levels; cabinet member at the municipal level; tenure as a member of the New Jersey State Ethics Commission; professor of ethics; and, legal background.

Dr. Bush-Baskette is the author of the book: Misguided Justice – The War on Drugs and the Incarceration of Black Women ( She continues to conduct research, write, speak, and facilitate meetings in criminal justice and policies, at the state and federal levels, having recently completed a project for the Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women.

Bush-Baskette has been the recipient of many awards, including the Lifetime Service Award, Newark Women’s Conference Trailblazer’s Award and the Outstanding Woman in Municipal Government from the New Jersey League of Municipalities.

Additional information regarding Dr. Bush-Baskette, please contact her at:

social justice, human rights

social justice, human rights