Thursday, April 04, 2019

President Donald J. Trump Is Committed to Building on the Successes of the First Step Act

 Americans from across the political spectrum can unite around prison reform legislation that will reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption. - President Donald J. Trump

President Trump Participates in the 
2019 Prison Reform Summit and First Step Act Celebration


ACHIEVING GROUNDBREAKING REFORM: The landmark First Step Act enacted commonsense criminal justice reform that is helping prisoners gain a new lease on life and is making America safer.

  • In December 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the First Step Act, marking the first major reforms to our criminal justice system in over a decade.
  • The First Step Act enacted commonsense reforms to make our justice system fairer and help inmates successfully transition back into society.
  • President Trump remains committed to building on this success and continuing the great work achieved by this legislation.

OFFERING A SECOND CHANCE: Inmates across the country are getting a second chance thanks to the First Step Act.

  • The First Step Act is providing prisoners with a second chance through rehabilitative programs, fair sentencing, and smart confinement.
  • Over 16,000 inmates are enrolled in a drug treatment program offered as part of the robust drug treatment strategy managed by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
    • To date, BOP has assessed over 400 inmates for participation in Medication Assisted Treatment programs designed to aid in their recovery.
  • The First Step Act provided the opportunity for sentencing relief for certain defendants who received mandatory minimum sentences prior to the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.
    • 721 defendants have received sentence reductions, 573 of which have resulted in inmates being released.
  • The First Step Act expanded avenues for eligible elderly and terminally ill prisoners to get their sentences reduced by allowing for their motions to be directly filed with the courts.
  • The First Step Act authorized eligible low-risk and elderly inmates to be transferred to home confinement when possible.
  • The legislation also advised BOP to place inmates within 500 driving miles of home when possible.

DEDICATING RESOURCES TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM: The Trump Administration is committed to helping prisoners successfully rejoin society after their release.

  • President Trump’s fiscal year 2020 Budget proposes over $500 million for various Federal programs to help prisoners succeed in society after their release, including:
    • $234 million for the Department of Justice to support reentry programs, inmate education, and occupational training programs.
    • $78 million for the Department of Labor to improve employment outcomes for formerly incarcerated adults and young adults.
  • In 2019, the Department of Education will provide $28 million for a Pell grant pilot program to help eligible incarcerated Americans pursue postsecondary education.
  • These initiatives are intended to help reduce the rate of recidivism and offer prisoners the support they need for life after incarceration.


Proclamation on 
Second Chance Month, 2019

 Issued on: March 29, 2019

Americans have always believed in the power of redemption ‑‑ that those who have fallen can work toward brighter days ahead.  Almost all of the more than two million people in America’s prisons will one day return to their communities.  In each case, they will have served their sentence and earned the chance to take their places back in society.  During Second Chance Month, we draw attention to the challenges that former inmates face and the steps we can take to ensure they have the opportunity to become contributing members of society.
Inmates are often eager to leave behind the challenges presented by incarceration.  Too often, however, they find the transition to life outside of prison to be daunting.  If they are not able to find jobs and housing and rebuild relationships with family and friends, they may find it harder to escape the cycle of reoffending.  Sadly, 5 out of 6 State prisoners are rearrested within 9 years of their release, and more than a third of former Federal prisoners will be rearrested within 5 years of their release.  In addition to the harm caused to the victims of crime, these high recidivism rates place a significant financial burden on taxpayers, deprive our labor force of productive workers, and leave families without spouses, children, and parents.
My Administration is committed to helping former prisoners reenter society as productive, law‑abiding citizens.  For this reason, I signed into law the bipartisan FIRST STEP Act.  This new legislation makes several positive reforms to increase the likelihood of successful prisoner reentry.  The legislation provides improved opportunities for inmates to engage in educational coursework and vocational training, and establishes pilot mentorship programs.  It also allows prisoners who successfully complete evidence‑based recidivism reduction programs to earn time credits to apply toward prerelease custody or supervised release, reducing their time in prison.  Because maintaining family and community ties is key to a successful reentry into society, the bill includes provisions that allow inmates to be placed in facilities closer to their home communities, facilitating family visitation during their time of incarceration.  Finally, the law makes adjustments to sentencing rules that will make our criminal justice system more fair, reducing penalties for certain drug offenders.
This month, we celebrate those who have exited the prison system and successfully reentered society and renew our commitment to providing support and resources that former inmates need to meet their responsibilities, rediscover their self‑worth, and benefit from the gift of a second chance.  We also express our sincere gratitude to all those who play a significant role in helping reduce recidivism, including faith‑based and community organizations and employers willing to hire workers notwithstanding a criminal history.  By reducing recidivism and putting former inmates on the path to success, we can reduce crime and enhance the safety of our communities.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2019 as Second Chance Month.  I call on all Americans to commemorate this month with events and activities that raise public awareness about preventing crime and providing those who have completed their sentences an opportunity for an honest second chance.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.