GCO welcomes Josh Crawford as senior fellow focused on criminal justice reform

The Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) is excited to announce a new addition to our team! Josh Crawford joins us as senior fellow focused on criminal justice reform.

GCO has long understood the impact the criminal justice system has had on those experiencing the barriers keeping them in poverty. Josh will fill a crucial role in helping add expertise and focus to address these issues.

Josh is a native of Massachusetts. He went to Penn State for his undergraduate degree and then finished law school in Boston. After a brief stint in Sacramento, California, working in the county district attorney’s office, Josh moved to Kentucky to help start the Pegasus Institute, a nonpartisan organization designed to promote opportunity. In addition to serving as executive director of the organization, Josh had a special focus on criminal justice policy.

Josh first encountered GCO during the 2021 State Policy Network annual meeting in Florida. He was impressed with GCO’s work on welfare cliffs and by the principles the organization lives by.

“GCO’s focus on opportunity and upward mobility for the most left-behind members of our communities very much aligns with my own passions,” Josh says. “Additionally, it became clear to me that GCO understands the holistic nature of prosperity and a life well-lived. Prosperity is too-often discussed in merely economic terms. But true prosperity comes from not only financial security but community, family, and the ability to help one’s children lead better and more prosperous lives than the generation before them.”

One of the top policy issues that motivates Josh is public safety: “The freedom to walk to the corner grocery store after dark or to let your kids play outside without fear of victimization is not a universal experience in American cities. In the absence of the most basic assumptions of personal safety, it becomes very hard to encourage economic growth or upward mobility. In fact, multiple studies have found that increases in violent crime depress private sector job growth and opportunity.”

Josh’s role at GCO will focus on criminal justice reforms and the pathways for ex-offenders transitioning out of prison to attach to work to lower their risk of recidivism.

“Reversing the trend of increased violence in American cities will require a combination of policy seriousness and political courage. It is my hope to bring the existing work I’m doing to GCO and expand upon it,” Josh added. “This means focusing attention on everything from policing and sentencing to the physical environment of a city and re-entry policy. The first city and state that gets these policy areas right will see not only huge public safety gains but will become the 21stt century model. Together we can make that a reality.”


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