Austin’s justice activists defy headwinds of criticism to force policy changes

October 19, 2019
Austin-American Statesman

The people responsible for Austin’s progressive shift in criminal justice reform include a 31-year-old man who was on probation for most of his adult life for a robbery he says he didn’t commit, an ex-software whiz who left a good job to craft policy proposals for an advocacy nonprofit, and a woman who spent 25 years in an Illinois prison for killing a man she says raped her.

They are social justice activists, a growing community of reform-minded people whose rise in power in the past five-plus years has pushed local elected officials to enact policies that benefit marginalized citizens at a time when Austin’s urban core is becoming increasingly white and wealthy.