R Street was busy at the recent South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, including co-hosting a series of discussions on criminal justice reform with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, along with support from the Charles Koch Institute and the Coalition for Public Safety.

Our first panel, “The New Wave of Justice Innovators,” focused on how emerging technologies can help solve some longstanding criminal justice issues. It was moderated by Jasmine Heiss, director of coalitions and outreach at the Coalition for Public Safety, and also featured Jon Tippens of Expunge.us, Jordan Richardson of the Charles Koch Institute, Lauren Krisai of the Reason Foundation, Rick Lane of Verie and Derek Cohen, deputy director of Right on Crime and the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

We also screened filmmaker Ondi Timoner’s documentary “The Last Mile: Inside San Quentin’s Tech Incubator.” After screening the film, we hosted a discussion with Natrina Gandana, program manager at The Last Mile Project, and Tulio Cardozo, technical manager for the Last Mile Project.

Our second panel focused on background-check policies and how these approaches have an adverse effect on the economic prospects of the most vulnerable.

Moderated by Greg Glod, manager of state initiatives for Right on Crime, the panel featured R Street Criminal Justice Policy Director Arthur Rizer; Texas state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Fort Worth; Malcolm Glenn, public policy manager at Uber;  Teresa Hodge, co-founder of Mission: Launch Inc.; and Bill Cobb, deputy director of the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice.

We wrapped up the day’s programming with a presentation by Marcus Bullock, the founder and CEO of FlikShop. His firm offers technology to help inmates stay in contact with their families – particularly important given that those connections help inmates with reentry when they are released.

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