What They’re Saying About Safe Streets & Second Chances

This week marked the launch of a new, groundbreaking initiative aimed at reducing the country’s high recidivism rate. Called Safe Streets & Second Chances, the new effort will use proven approaches underpinned by academic research to develop comprehensive reentry activities for those releasing from prison to ensure they are successful once they return to our communities.

Here’s a look at what is being said about the new initiative.

A $4 MILLION PILOT PROJECT TO HELP FORMER PRISONERS SUCCESSFULLY REENTER SOCIETY”

USA TODAY: “The new prisoner reentry program will start with a trial experiment involving 1,000 participants in four states: Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Pennsylvania. The goal is to develop individualized reentry plans that start on the first day prisoners are jailed.” (Fredreka Schouten, “Koch brothers to launch pilot project to tackle prisoner reentry,” USA Today, 1/24/18)

  • “’Over 95 percent of people who are incarcerated will eventually be released, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to make sure that these individuals are better when they leave prison than before they went in,’ Koch Industries executive Mark Holden said in a statement.” (Fredreka Schouten, “Koch brothers to launch pilot project to tackle prisoner reentry,” USA Today, 1/24/18)

OBSERVER: “Alongside the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Koch network is pouring $4 million into Safe Streets and Second Chances—an initiative that will study criminal rehabilitation programs in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Pennsylvania. Each state will receive $1 million in funding for a trial experiment on 1,000 prisoners intended to prepare them for the workforce.” (Davis Richardson, “As Private Prisons Surge Under Trump, Koch Brothers Launch Prison Reform Initiative,” Observer, 1/24/18)

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: “Mark V. Holden, senior vice president and general counsel of Koch Industries, is leading the initiative, pursued in conjunction with the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Right on Crime. Criminal justice reform has long been a policy of interest to the Koch brothers, conservative megadonors with a libertarian bent. They argue criminal justice reform will reduce the prison population, saving taxpayers billions of dollars.” (David Drucker, “Koch brothers introducing new criminal justice reform initiative,” Washington Examiner, 1/24/18)

  • “The program will launch in four states — Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Pennsylvania — and examine ways to shift America’s criminal justice system from a focus on punishment to prioritizing rehabilitation, in a bid to reduce recidivism.” (David Drucker, “Koch brothers introducing new criminal justice reform initiative,” Washington Examiner, 1/24/18)

AXIOS: “The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime initiative — supported by Koch Industries — is launching an effort focused on reducing repeat offenses and successfully reintegrating the incarcerated into society.” (Caitlin Owens, “Koch network backing $4 million criminal justice reform initiative,” Axios, 1/24/18)

THE HILL: “The program is led by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Dr. Carrie Pettus-Davis, an author and professor who says the U.S. prison system is focused too much on punishment and not enough on rehabilitation.” (Jonathan Easley, “Kochs offer $4M for anti-recidivism program,” The Hill, 1/24/18)

  • “’This unique initiative marries research-driven policy and reentry services reforms,’ Pettus-Davis said in a statement. ‘Even though incarceration and reentry impacts millions of people’s lives in our country, there is a huge void in research on creating a successful transition of people from prison back home to our communities. We’re closing the gap.’” (Jonathan Easley, “Kochs offer $4M for anti-recidivism program,” The Hill, 1/24/18)

NATIONAL REVIEW: “The Koch group contends that states that have reformed their reentry policies over the past decade ‘have shown that this data-driven approach keeps communities safe, reduces recidivism rates, and restores second chances to those who have paid their debt to society.’” (Jim Geraghty, “The Koch Network’s New Plan for ‘Safe Streets and Second Chances’,” National Review, 1/24/18)

  • “’The vision of Safe Streets and Second Chances is that, rather than waiting until the end of an individual’s sentence, the reentry process should begin on day one.’” (Jim Geraghty, “The Koch Network’s New Plan for ‘Safe Streets and Second Chances’,” National Review, 1/24/18)

MCCLATCHY: “The Safe Streets and Second Chances project will study criminal rehabilitation programs in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Pennsylvania with a goal of helping prisoners prepare for employment and lead healthy lives after they’re released.” (Andrea Drusch, “Koch Network, Texas think tank team up on criminal justice reform,” McClatchy, 1/24/18)

  • “Roughly $1 million will go toward partnerships such as the one with TPPF in each state, to be used on research and business partnerships. TPPF’s criminal justice reform arm will lead that effort in Texas. TPPF President and Fort Worth resident Brooke Rollins will serve on the program’s leadership team, along with Koch Industries’ Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mark Holden and Doug Deason, a Dallas businessman and major Koch Network donor.” (Andrea Drusch, “Koch Network, Texas think tank team up on criminal justice reform,” McClatchy, 1/24/18)
  • “’States like Texas have shown what’s possible when policymakers get smart on crime,’ said Rollins. ‘Helping individuals transition back to society after their prison sentences have been completed is the best way to reduce crime, protect communities, and save taxpayers money.’ (Andrea Drusch, “Koch Network, Texas think tank team up on criminal justice reform,” McClatchy, 1/24/18)

“PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS VOICED SUPPORT FOR PRISON REFORM”

USA TODAY: “Earlier this month, Holden attended a White House meeting with President Trump, governors, religious leaders and other activists to discuss ways to expand workplace opportunities for prisoners and reduce the rate of recidivism.” (Fredreka Schouten, “Koch brothers to launch pilot project to tackle prisoner reentry,” USA Today, 1/24/18)

THE HILL: “At a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback at the White House earlier this month, Trump said his administration has ‘a great interest’ in reducing recidivism rates.” (Jonathan Easley, “Kochs offer $4M for anti-recidivism program,” The Hill, 1/24/18)

  • “’We want to ensure that those who enter the justice system are able to contribute to their communities after they leave prison, which is one of many very difficult subjects we’re discussing, having to do with our great country,’ Trump said.” (Jonathan Easley, “Kochs offer $4M for anti-recidivism program,” The Hill, 1/24/18)

MCCLATCHY: “The White House Office of American Innovation has been receptive to some of TPPF’s ideas on” criminal justice reform. (Andrea Drusch, “Koch Network, Texas think tank team up on criminal justice reform,” McClatchy, 1/24/18)

  • “That office, run by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, says its mission is to take ideas from the business community to solve the nation’s problems.” (Andrea Drusch, “Koch Network, Texas think tank team up on criminal justice reform,” McClatchy, 1/24/18)