Last week, the Texas Fair Defense Project (TFDP) presented the Texas Public Policy Foundation with the Spirit of Texas Award for its national Right on Crime project which promotes solutions to reduce crime, restore victims, reform people who commit crimes, and lower taxpayer costs.
Accepting the award was Safe Streets & Second Chances’ Executive Director John Koufos, who also serves as Right on Crime’s National Director of Re-entry Initiatives.
Via his role at Right on Crime, Koufos has worked with Texas policymakers to ease the burden of re-entry by changing laws surrounding restoration of driver’s licenses and dealing with fines and fees accrued while in prison. In that time, he has teamed with Jessica Jackson Sloan of #cut50, an initiative to cut the prison population, who was also honored by TFDP.
Koufos, a fierce advocate for criminal justice reform who was formerly incarcerated, has devoted his life to helping break down barriers for returning citizens who want a second chance after they are done serving their time.
Alongside Jackson Sloan and many others, Koufos successfully fought for the bipartisan First Step Act, which became law late last year. Though Texas and other states started the criminal justice reform movement, the First Step Act marks a milestone at the federal level that is spurring similar reforms in states such as Missouri, North Carolina and Florida.
“Criminal justice is about doing what is right – not left versus right,” Koufos said of his work. “We look forward to continuing our work with #cut50 across the nation because we all want the same things: safer streets, lower recidivism, higher employment and the ability for returning citizens to access the American Dream.”