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

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.
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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.
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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.
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Candidates Need to Fall in Line With Queerer, Browner Electorate

Support of civil and human rights will drive the millennial voice in the upcoming presidential election.

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.
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Death by Traffic Stop

Black people are twice as likely to be pulled over as whites — and three times more likely to experience the use of force afterward.
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Who's Profiting From America's Private Juvenile Prisons?

One mother's fight to shut down a private juvenile corrections facility in Louisiana known for its brutality and big profits.

Gender Explained: How the Obama Administration Is Getting It Right on Gender Identity

While society catches up with science, we need legal protections to stop discrimination and violence against people who identify as transgender.

Report: Mothers at the Gate

A movement of family members is developing around the country that aims to challenge both the conditions in which their loved ones are held and the fact of mass incarceration itself.

The Trauma of Losing a Parent to Incarceration

More than 5 million children have a parent in jail. A country that allows such massive infliction of trauma on its children is a country whose entire future is in question.

Virginia Moves in the Right Direction to Reverse Jim Crow Era Voting Barriers

IPS Criminalization of Poverty Project Director Karen Dolan: “Denying voting rights based on criminal records is an egregious affront to the democratic values we espouse in this country."
police-in-schools

It’s Time to Get Cops Out of Schools

There’s only one way to make sure no more young girls are body-slammed by uniformed officers.

Obama’s Last Budget Offers Hope. Could it Bring About Change, Too?

If the GOP wants to stay relevant, its establishment members of Congress may have to pay more attention to this budget than they wish to.

Will Any Presidential Candidate Connect Federal Tax Policy and Police Killings?

Tax policy and police brutality are inextricably linked, yet no one's talking about it. Here's why they should.

The Harsh Reality of ‘Ban the Box’ Reform Efforts

While it represents a step forward, 'ban the box' only goes so far in addressing deeper systemic issues fueling mass incarceration.

Project Director

Criminalization of Race and Poverty

karen@ips-dc.org

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