President Donald Trump met with a group of state governors and federal officials Thursday to discuss prison reform.
“Our first duty is to our citizens including those who have taken the wrong path, but are seeking redemption and a new beginning,” Trump said.
Trump said that thanks to low unemployment around the country, more prisoners had a chance to learn skills and train for jobs while serving their sentences.
“We’re creating so many jobs that former inmates for the first time are getting a shot at it,” he said.
Trump called the job growth “unthinkable” and urged all Americans to seek more skills and job training.
He noted that his son-in-law Jared Kushner was taking the lead on prison reform, praising him for his efforts.
Trump said he would continue to be tough on crime, including drug traffickers and human traffickers, but reminded the audience that it was important to give criminals a chance to turn their lives around in prison.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta attended the meeting, as well as Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.
Bevin said during the meeting the issue of prison reform was an issue that transcended politics.
“It’s the right thing to do, just the human dignity, this is a land of second chances and of opportunity to rebuild your life,” Bevin said. “You are giving us through this conversation and the kinds of things you are pushing at the federal level, encouragement from the bottom up, to give millions and millions of Americans a chance at redemption.”