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Our organization is committed to advocating for accountability, second chances, and public safety in our criminal justice system. We believe that by promoting these values, we can create a safer and more just society for all.


John Koufos

Board Member

John Koufos helps companies optimize second chance hiring and mitigate risk, and is a national speaker on public safety-focused criminal justice reform. He started his career in New Jersey before moving to Washington, D.C., to work on national second chance hiring, healthcare and criminal justice issues.  

John’s work has helped thousands of people with criminal records secure jobs. He is a nationally recognized criminal justice advocate with deep experience building and leading criminal justice organizations and campaigns. He has worked with multiple Presidential Administrations, dozens of Governors and Cabinet members, and countless businesses and nonprofits.

John previously served as Executive Director of Safe Streets & Second Chances, National Director of Reentry Initiatives at Right On Crime (Texas Public Policy Foundation), Executive Director of Taking Action for Good, and Executive Director of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation.
John wrote and hosted Retaining Talent a second chance hiring and retention documentary and training. Retaining Talent was filmed across Florida and Washington, D.C., with businesses that hire people with criminal records, government officials, law enforcement, corporate and banking leaders, and at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

His leadership in the business community was recognized in 2016 when NJBIZ named him one of New Jersey’s Top 40 Under 40. He is a regular speaker on criminal justice, healthcare, social determinants and workforce development, and helps cities, states, and the federal government to optimize reentry systems. John has been interviewed by a wide array of outlets including C-SPAN Washington Journal, the New York Times, New Jersey Monthly, Time Magazine, and dozens of radio outlets. His commentaries have been published in the New York Post, Governing Magazine, on Fox News, and in regional media around the nation.


Board Member

Karen Blackistone Oaks has expert knowledge advising multifaceted, multimillion-dollar policy campaigns that incorporate a wide range of advocacy strategies. Over the past decade, she has developed a stellar reputation for working with clients to develop innovative legal strategies that complement their customized advocacy plans, including nationwide lobbying campaigns, grassroots and grass-tops advocacy, ballot measures, and candidate advocacy.Karen has counseled high-profile advocacy groups, presidential campaigns, and multi-national corporations and she regularly advises trade associations and nonprofit organizations on a range of issues affecting their operations. Karen advises clients in the areas of campaign finance, elections, government ethics, and in the law of tax-exempt organizations.

For example, she has developed legal compliance programs for corporations, nonprofit organizations, and trade associations undertaking advocacy campaigns encompassing lobbying, gifts to public officials, and campaign finance. She represents clients engaged in one of the most high-profile fifty-state lobbying efforts of the past five yearsDuring election season, Karen prepares clients for election-day operations and post-election contingencies, and she has successfully represented candidates in post-election recounts and election contests.

In 2004, Karen coordinated the Bush campaign’s legal operations across twenty states in preparation for nationwide election-day litigation contingency operations. In 2008, she was the principal legal counsel for one of the leading Republican presidential primary candidates, and she advised the campaign on general legal matters and a wide range of legal issues and post-election disputes.

Karen speaks about campaign law and ethics to clients, groups, and organizations. Past appearances have included the Leadership Institute and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. Karen lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and daughter. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and has volunteered with developmentally disabled adults since 2013.

Justin Keener

Board Member

A sixth generation Texan, Justin Keener is a partner at Granite Public Affairs where he works with philanthropists, business leaders, corporations, and advocacy organizations to shape public debates. He has led numerous state and national campaigns on issues including school choice, energy, health care, criminal justice, insurance, higher education, intellectual property, infrastructure, and more.  

A conservative criminal justice reform advocate, he was the architect of the Right on Crime campaign for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He worked closely with the Trump Administration and numerous national allies to coordinate coalition activities for passage of the First Step Act. Justin is a founding board member of the Council on Criminal Justice, he served as administrator of the Dallas Crime Stoppers program at the Dallas Crime Commission, and currently represents The Just Trust and the Deason Family in leading several reform efforts.

Justin serves as president of Texans for Free Enterprise in support of free market policies, and previously served as president of Texas Business for Higher Education, vice president at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and worked for Texas Speaker Tom Craddick and Texas State Senator Florence Shapiro. Justin was also vice president with two global public relations firms, where he provided corporate and crisis communications services to numerous Fortune 500 companies. Justin lives in Austin with his two sons, and is an avid runner, rower, and hiker.