Safe Streets & Second Chances Praises President Trump’s State of the Union Commitment to Reducing Recidivism

Washington, D.C. — In his inaugural State of the Union address this evening, President Trump voiced support for prison reform, saying, “this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.”

In response, Safe Streets & Second Chances leaders Mark Holden and Brooke Rollins issued the following statements:

“We applaud the president for acknowledging the need to change our policies and expectations around prisons, which are failing to equip individuals to successfully return to society and succeed,” said Holden, General Counsel of Koch Industries and Chairman of Safe Streets & Second Chances’ advisory council. “Prisons should focus on rehabilitation, reformation, and redemption. Reducing crime starts with lowering recidivism and the best way to do that is to make sure that incarcerated individuals – over 95 percent of whom will one day be released – leave prison better than when they arrived. Rehabilitating individuals enhances public safety, saves taxpayers billions of dollars, and gives people who made mistakes – many of them non-violent – a second chance to live productive and meaningful lives. For the sake of our communities, law enforcement, and those coming out of prison, we must ensure they return as productive members of society. The president’s support for this idea is very encouraging and we look forward to continuing to work with the White House, the administration, members of Congress and states to make this vision a reality nationwide.”

“We are incredibly pleased that President Trump took time this evening to recognize the importance of reforming our corrections policies,” said Rollins, President and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and member of Safe Streets & Second Chances’ advisory council. “History shows that it’s not enough to simply lock people up and then release them with no plan for reentering their communities. We must build on the approach used in states to rehabilitate incarcerated individuals so that they’re less likely to wind up back behind bars. This is a conservative solution that has proven effective at improving public safety, saving money, and giving second chances to those who have served their time. We are excited to continue working with the White House and top conservative leaders both in and out of government on approaches that increase the safety of our communities and opportunity for millions of Americans.”

READ MORE: Mark Holden’s latest op-ed: “Helping former inmates meet the challenge of re-entry

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