President Trump and his senior advisor Jared Kushner have spent their lives beneath the glare of the bright lights of Manhattan, but it is the nation’s darkest and most forgotten locations that have recently peaked their interest: America’s prisons. On Feb. 28, the administration released a document entitled “Principles of Prison Reform and Reentry” that puts the administration firmly on the side of rehabilitation and redemption.
The leadership of President Trump and Kushner couldn’t be timelier given that there are nearly 650,000 Americans released from prisons every year, not to mention millions discharged from local jails. Wouldn’t we be safer if they left more prepared to hold a job and follow the law?
The Trump administration’s plan calls for sensible reforms such as creating incentives for inmates to complete programs that reduce recidivism and instituting prison work programs that train inmates to do jobs available in the economy upon release. It also highlights the importance of risk and needs assessments that match the right offender to the right program.
Some are surprised this White House is backing prison reform, but this effort has been a long time in the making. Back in October 2017, Kushner brought me and others who had been working in this field for years to the White House to engage in what turned out to be a series of discussions on solutions and strategies for achieving them.