Karen joined IPS in 1996. Her public scholarship and activism at IPS has linked community-led organizations with policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels. The focus of her work is on anti-poverty issues, criminal justice reform, local democracy and empowerment, with a focus on race and gender. Karen currently directs the Criminalization of Poverty project.
Some of Karen’s publications include: The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty; Closing the Inequality Divide; Battered By The Storm: How the Safety Net is Failing Americans and How to Fix it; We’re Not Broke; Our Communities are Not for Sale; Paying the Price: the Mounting Costs of War in Iraq; Foreign 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.