Texas’ big success with criminal justice reform was a focal point in Thursday’s White House round-table discussion on how to improve the federal prison system. President Trump’s Senior Advisor, Jared Kushner, called the meeting to start a conversation on how to more effectively rehabilitate former offenders in order to bring down the nation’s re-offense rates. The White House hosted a number of elected officials and criminal justice reform advocates. Right on Crime was well-represented by Brooke Rollins, President and CEO of Texas Public Policy Foundation, and our signatories—Doug Deason (Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform), Pat Nolan (Center for Criminal Justice Reform), and Craig DeRoche (Prison Fellowship).
According to our representatives, promoting successful reentry of former inmates was one reform that especially peaked the Administration’s interest. Invited participants spoke about the countless barriers to reentry formerly incarcerated Americans face when they’re trying to turn their lives around and support their families. Whether they’re applying for jobs or seeking an occupational license to run their own business, a criminal record can make it needlessly difficult for a former offender to earn an honest living. By promoting expungement and reducing licensing barriers, individuals, families, and businesses can all benefit. Another proactive approach is to reinvest dollars saved from criminal justice reform measures into job training programs. U.S. Senator John Cornyn, who also attended the meeting, is a major proponent of loosen restrictions on job training funding in a way that increases states’ autonomy.
This meeting is a, “first step to shift the federal corrections system from its punitive crime-fighting focus to improved reentry programs that have been proven to lower recidivism in several states.” Brooke Rollins said of the meeting, “We are in the position to help the nation move forward in a way that is fiscally responsible and accountable to the communities we impact.” Right on Crime looks forward to continuing the conversation and aiding the White House in recommending conservative criminal justice reforms.