Brandi Blessett

Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Rutgers University-Camden
Areas of Expertise:
  • Government Agencies
  • Criminal Justice

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About Brandi

Blessett’s research examines the role of public administrators as either facilitators or inhibitors of fairness, equity, and justice for historically marginalized groups. More specifically, her research focuses on administrative responsibility, cultural competence, social equity, reentry, and disenfranchisement. She is a Center for Accountability and Performance Fellow; serves on the editorial board for Public Integrity; and is the Program Evaluator for ReNew Camden, a Federal Reentry Program that seeks to help formerly incarcerated persons successfully reintegrate back into society.



"Invisible Job Seeker: The Absence of Ex-Offenders in Discussions of Diversity Management" (with Marie Pryor). Public Administration Quarterly 37, no. 3 (2013): 136-158.

Illuminates the reasons why ex-offenders are left out of workplace diversity literature; to explicate the consequences of such exclusion; as well as to highlight the benefits that can be attained by diversity management geared toward the inclusion of ex-offenders. Suggests ways that inclusion of the ex-offender population can be achieved both theoretically and in practice.

"Disenfranchisement: Historical Underpinnings and Contemporary Manifestations" Public Administration Quarterly 39, no. 1 (2015): 3-50.

Argues that disenfranchisement becomes apparent through the implementation of colorblind policies that impose a financial hardship, create confusion, limits access to the ballot, dilutes the vote geographically, or uses subjective measures of eligibility. Discusses the disproportionate effect on racial and ethnic minorities that prevents full access to the rights and privileges associated with being an American citizen.

"A Framework for Integrating Cultural Competency into the Curriculum of Public Service Programs" (with Vanessa Lopez-Littleton). Journal of Public Affairs Education 21, no. 4 (2015): 557-574.

Draws from models in health-related academic programs, and introduces the diversity and inclusiveness framework (DIF), with six interdependent components: addresses the program’s mission, identifies core competencies, develops diversity and inclusiveness plans, requires faculty and staff training, implements curricular and co-curricular components, and assesses student’s perception of diversity.

"Sharecropper Finance: Using the Justice System as a Public Revenue Source" (with Richard C. Box). Public Integrity 18, no. 2 (2016): 113-126.

Discusses the fines and fees charged to lower-income people, mostly African Americans, who have long been a mainstay of the revenue stream for the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and other local governments. Argues that this current policy issue shares characteristics with the much older technique of sharecropping, suggesting a long-term pattern of financial exploitation based on race. Establishes a critical race theory framework to examine the question of administrative ethics raised by this practice.

"Public Administration, Diversity and the Ethic of Getting Things Done" (with Mohamad G. Alkadry and Valerie L. Patterson). Administration and Society (forthcoming).

Discusses the case of Overtown, a predominantly African American neighborhood near Downtown Miami that was once dubbed the Harlem of the South, to explore the ethics of administrative actions. Argues for ethics testing to accompany any moves to institutionalize managing-for-results in cases of community development, housing, health, and other areas that affect people directly. 

In the News

Brandi Blessett quoted in SteveJanoski, "McGreevey-Run Nonprofit that Helps Former Inmates Opens Hackensack Office", February 2, 2018.
"Ensuring #BlackLivesMatter," Brandi Blessett (with Tia Sherèe Gaynor), PA Times, December 19, 2014.
"Race and Law Enforcement: A Tale of Two Experiences," Brandi Blessett, PA Times, April 14, 2015.
"A Dream Deferred?," Brandi Blessett, PA Times, May 12, 2015.
"A Dream Deferred? Part II," Brandi Blessett, PA Times, June 9, 2015.
"When the Rainbow is Not Enough," Brandi Blessett, PA Times, July 14, 2015.
Brandi Blessett quoted on success of former incarcerated people in Tom McLaughlin, "New Beginnings: Researcher Serves as Valuator for Program Supporting Former Incarcerated Persons" Rutgers-Camden News Now, August 2015.
"Water: A Privilege or Right?," Brandi Blessett, PA Times, February 5, 2016.