From Enemies to Allies: The True Story of Criminal Justice Reform

The protest was big. Former Obama administration official and CNN commentator Van Jones was leading it.

On the other side was Mark Holden. As general counsel for Koch Industries, he was frequently at odds with the policies Van supported.

Fast forward seven years, to 2018. Congress passed the First Step Act with overwhelming majorities. It was the biggest federal criminal justice reform in 30 years, making communities safer and providing thousands of deserving people a second chance on life.

And it only happened because Van Jones and Mark Holden looked past their differences.

Not long after that protest, they happened to meet at an event in Washington, D.C. They quickly discovered they shared a passion for criminal justice reform.

Once they realized this, they started working together to build a nationwide coalition – liberals and conservatives, prosecutors and public defenders, big businesses and nonprofits, you name it.

It showed people they could make progress by focusing on what unites us rather than our differences.

Their success transformed how Van, Mark, and countless others looked at the world.

Van puts it best: “We started working together to get other people free… but the reality is, we got some freedom. We got free to see the country differently and do more good.”