Karen Dolan is a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. Karen holds an M.A. With Highest Distinction in Philosophy and Social Policy from the American University in Washington DC.

Karen joined IPS in 1996. Her public scholarship and activism at IPS has linked community-led organizations with social movements and policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels. The focus of her work is on anti-poverty issues, juvenile justice, criminal justice reform, and transgender rights with a focus on race, gender, and gender identity. Karen currently directs the Criminalization of Race and Poverty project.

Some of Karen’s publications include: Mothers at the Gate: How a powerful family movement is transforming the juvenile justice system; The Poor Get Prison: The alarming spread of the criminalization of povertyClosing the Inequality DivideBattered By The Storm: How the Safety Net is Failing Americans and How to Fix itWe’re Not BrokeOur Communities are Not for SalePaying the Price: the Mounting Costs of War in IraqForeign Policy Goes Local; and she was a contributor for Mandate for Change.

Karen blogs for Huffington Post and regularly appears in other media outlets. Karen serves on the boards of The Participatory Budgeting Project, The Liberty Tree Foundation and Jobs With Justice Worker Rights Board.

Areas of Expertise

  • Progressive movement, policymakers
  • Poverty, economic hardship
  • Criminalization of race and poverty
  • Juvenile justice; criminal justice reform
  • Gender and gender identity; transgender rights
  • Cost of war and militarism at home

Latest

believe-women-blasey-ford-kavanaugh

Men Like Kavanaugh Always Enjoy the Presumption of Innocence; Others Aren’t so Lucky

White males with high economic status are almost always presumed innocent, often at the expense of minorities and white women.
school-safety-SROs

Punitive, Zero Tolerance Policies Are Endangering Our Students

Restorative justice is a promising alternative to arming teachers and putting cops in schools. And we can prove it.

Help Spread the Word: #RealSchoolSafety

Help spread the word about our new report, Students Under Siege

Report: Students Under Siege

How the school-to-prison pipeline, poverty, and racism endanger our school children
SNAP-supplemental-nutritional-assistance-program

Trump’s War On the Poor Has Just Begun

Anti-poverty programs are quickly becoming less accessible as the Trump administration claims the "War on Poverty" is "largely over and a success."
police-brutality-protest

These 'Blue Lives Matter' Bills Send the Wrong Message on Race and Violence

This is just the latest congressional favor for the Fraternal Order of the Police.
mother-son-prison-incarcerated-mothers

Incarceration and Deportation Rip Mothers From Their Families

We need to address the criminalization of race and poverty. To do so, we need to correct our swaying moral compass.
Poor People's Campaign

Poor People's Campaign Report

An interview with Karen Dolan.
gun-control-school-safety

Getting Real About School Safety

Armed adults don't make kids safer. They put them at greater risk.
parkland-protest-generation-Z

Parkland Students Join Their Generation Z Peers to Change the Country

"Our voices are getting louder. Our political power is expanding."
wheelchair

No Country for People with Disabilities

Trump wants to slash $610 billion from Medicaid — on top of the $800 billion the House wants to cut in repealing Obamacare. That will be devastating for people with disabilities.
parent-child

The Gratifying Challenges of Mothering a Trans Child

Mothering a transgender child several years before there was any public understanding of what makes a baby transgender is a mountain most mothers hope they don't have to climb. But mothers don't have the luxury of staying confused.
books-not-bars-juvenile-justice

The Moms Fighting for Their Kids Behind Bars

For the mothers of the 54,000 children incarcerated in this country — the most of any in the world — Mother's Day rings in an acute pain.
trans-transgender-kids-children-schools-protections-gavin-grimm-supreme-court

All Trans Kids Have Constitutional Rights — Whether Trump Likes It or Not

The Trump administration just dealt trans kids a setback at the Supreme Court. But that's not the last word by a long shot.
jeff-sessions-civil-rights-record-russia-ambassador-resign-recuse

The Worst Thing About Sessions? Everything We Already Knew.

What could Sessions have talked to the Russian ambassador about that could compare to his atrocious record on civil rights?

Why Is Trump Discriminating Against My Transgender Child?

Trump's White House revoked Title IX protections of transgender students.
America failing its schools

With DeVos, We're Likely to See a Charter School to Prison Pipeline

We need to get cops out of schools and invest in an accountable public education system, IPS' Karen Dolan told the Real News Network.

With DeVos Confirmation, Expect Charter School to Prison Pipeline

We could see a deepening of the racial punishment gap for schoolchildren.
economic-justice-protest

The Bad News about Good Census Numbers

Despite better numbers, the latest census data leaves much to be desired for closing the racial wage, wealth, and opportunity gaps in the United States.

Statement on Texas Judge's Ruling Against Trans-inclusive Obama Directive

IPS expert says she's "sickened and saddened" by a Texas judge's discriminatory ruling against Obama directive to recognize civil rights of transgender students in U.S public schools.

Project Director

Criminalization of Race and Poverty

Email this expert

202-787-5228

Topics of Interest

Community Policing, Criminal Justice, Families of Incarcerated, Juvenile Justice, Local Democracy, Mass Incarceration LGBTQIA, Participatory Budgeting, Race and Poverty, Racial Justice