CHARLES COLSON HOPE AWARDS
2016 ADVOCATE OF HOPE HONOREE
SENATOR JOHN CORNYN
The Charles Colson Advocate of Hope award is bestowed annually on a person with a record of faithful, unswerving, and winsome advocacy for restorative criminal justice reform—a person whose leadership blazes a trail toward a future of proportional punishment, constructive prison culture, second chances, and safer communities.
The Advocate of Hope Award recognizes a person who has faithfully advocated for restorative criminal justice reform. The inaugural award goes to Sen. John Cornyn, whose leadership blazes a trail toward a future of proportional punishment, constructive prison culture, second chances, and safer communities.
Throughout his career, Sen. Cornyn has served the public good in many ways. From his earlier work as a judge to his accomplishments as attorney general of Texas, he has remained a diligent, compassionate public servant. Now, in the U.S. Senate, he is helping to craft laws that reflect the value and dignity of each citizen.
Ensuring that the criminal justice system fosters rehabilitation and redemption is no easy feat, but Sen. Cornyn has never shied from an uphill battle. At the time he was running for Attorney General of Texas, the child support division of the office was notorious for dysfunction and lack of productivity. That could have discouraged him from running, but when asked about the challenge, he only replied with a smile, “Someone has to fix it, and I believe I can.” Shortly after taking office, he followed through on that statement.
More recently, Sen. Cornyn has been an outspoken champion for criminal justice reform on Capitol Hill. He is a strong, distinct voice for people who want a second chance to improve their lives and contribute positively to their communities. Knowing the power of justice that restores people, he has tirelessly supported responsible legislation that works to break the cycle of crime. In the face of a flawed system, Sen. Cornyn respects and defends prisoners’ needs for effective correctional programming. He sponsored the CORRECTIONS Act, which builds on successful reforms that took place in states like Texas and takes strides to create a more restorative prison culture through increased access to rehabilitative programming, including faith-based programming. His bill became Title II of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support in 2015, and he continues to push for this legislation to come to the Senate floor for a vote.
For years, Sen. Cornyn has looked for ways to improve the lives of men and women behind bars. He pursues smart reforms based on both hard evidence and unwavering compassion. His balanced, forthright views reflect a core belief in the dignity of people, and the people he serves are better off for it.
Sen. Cornyn was nominated for this award by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He is a long-time friend to the Foundation and is known for inviting many others to join him in the fight for criminal justice. He has educated and emboldened his staff to support the cause, mobilizing a fleet of supporters to participate in real change. Together, they are furthering the vision for a competent, restorative system.
CHARLES COLSON HOPE AWARDS
The Charles Colson Hope Awards, sponsored by Prison Fellowship, recognize people who have faithfully and courageously worked to restore those affected by crime and incarceration. Charles Colson, who founded Prison Fellowship 40 years ago, was at ease with presidents, prisoners, wardens, pastors, laypeople, and legislators. In all times and places, he was a passionate advocate for incarcerated men and women, and their families, sharing his faith in the Gospel and honoring the God-given value and potential of each person. His impact on prison ministry, prison culture, and prison reform has been broad and lasting. In keeping with his inspiring legacy, the Charles Colson Hope Awards honor people who, in following his example, have been role models to others and brought restoration through their sphere of influence.