Wednesday, March 1, 2017
3:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Texas Public Policy Foundation
901 Congress Ave.

Panel Discussion
Reception to Follow

Hosted at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, 901 Congress Ave. Austin, TX
March 1, 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Heavy Appetizers and Beverages Provided
For a map of downtown Austin public parking, please click here.

Ten years ago, Texas led the nation in conservative criminal justice reform. Reforms passed since 2007 have strengthened alternatives to incarceration for adults and juveniles, achieved significant reductions in crime and avoided more than $3 billion in taxpayer costs that would have been incurred had Texas constructed the more than 17,000 prison beds that were a projected need in 2007.

This panel discussion, moderated by Mike Ward of the Houston Chronicle, the primary correspondent covering criminal justice reform legislation in 2007, will take you through the challenges legislators faced when taking on reform, where they have seen success and where we are 10 years later.

Join us as we celebrate ten years of prioritizing victims, saving taxpayer money and enhancing public safety! 


John WhitmireSenator John Whitmire
Texas State Senator

Senator John Whitmire represents the 15th Senatorial District comprised of north Houston and parts of Harris County. He was elected to the Texas Senate in 1982 after serving 10 years in the Texas House of Representatives. With over 32 years of service in the Texas Senate, Senator Whitmire ranks first in seniority and is the "Dean of the Texas Senate."

Senator Whitmire serves as Chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and works to bring about needed changes to the adult and juvenile criminal justice systems. He is also a member of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee and the Senate Finance Committee where he is committed to finding appropriate solutions for funding the state's many agencies and programs.

Jerry MaddenThe Honorable Jerry Madden
Former Texas House of Representatives
Former Texas House Committee on Corrections Chairman

Jerry Madden is a Senior Fellow at the Right on Crime campaign.

Rep. Madden is best known, along with Senator John Whitmire, as the driving force behind the successful and much-copied 2007 Texas criminal justice reforms. (For their work, Governing Magazine named them Public Officials of the Year in 2010.) Madden graduated from West Point with a BS in Engineering, obtained a Master of Science in Management and Administration Sciences from the University of Texas at Dallas in 1979, and has since been honored as one of their distinguished graduates. After being elected to the Texas Legislature in November of 1992, he served ten terms. While there, Rep. Madden was Chairman of the House Committee on Corrections from 2005-2009 and again from 2011-2012. In 2011, the American Legislative Exchange Council honored Rep. Madden as their Legislator of the Year. He chaired ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force from January 2011 through April of 2012, and serves as well on the Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit. He and his family have lived in Richardson, Texas since 1971.

Marc Levin
Texas Public Policy Foundation & Right on Crime

Marc Levin is Right on Crime’s Policy Director, as well as the Director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Based in Austin, Texas, Levin is an attorney and an accomplished author on legal and public policy issues. Levin served as a law clerk to Judge Will Garwood on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Staff Attorney at the Texas Supreme Court. In 1999, he graduated with honors from the University of Texas with a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Government. In 2002, Levin received his J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law. Levin’s articles on law and public policy have been featured in national and international media outlets that regularly turn to him for conservative analysis of states’ criminal justice challenges.


Mike WardMike Ward
Austin Bureau Chief
Houston Chronicle

Mike Ward, an award-winning Texas reporter who coordinates the Houston Chronicle's political reporting staff as Austin Bureau Chief, focuses on covering Statehouse politics, criminal justice and ethics, another other issues. He has covered criminal justice across the country for four decades, from executions and prison riots to three-strikes laws to treatment initiatives. His reporting in Texas has uncovered the VitaPro prison-food scandal, broke stories about lawmaker-lobbyists' ties that led to creation of the Texas Ethics Commission and investigated sexual abuse and mismanagement in the Lone Star juvenile-justice system that led to sweeping reforms. Several years ago, a death-row prisoner used a smuggled cell phone to call him and state Sen. John Whitmire in a case that led to death threats, police protection for the senator and an unprecedented crackdown on contraband that left Texas' massive prison system on lockdown for a month. More than 600 smuggled cell phones were seized and new security rules were imposed statewide.