President Donald Trump delivered remarks at a Prison Reform Summit and First Step Act celebration on Monday at the White House.
Brooke Rollins, assistant to the president in the Office of American Innovation, told Breitbart News that the First Step Act would improve public safety and lessen recidivism among ex-convicts.
According to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Rollins is a ‘visionary leader of the conservative movement with a proven record of turning ideas into action. Mrs. Rollins is considered one of the transformative liberty leaders of twenty-first century America. Studying agriculture at Texas A&M, she was named the top 1994 graduate and also served as the first female student body president of her beloved alma mater.’
She joined Monday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily for an interview with host Alex Marlow.
Talk Media News listed some of the First Step Act’s components:
Limiting the use of restraints on federal prisoners who are pregnant or in postpartum recovery;
Reducing mandatory minimum prison terms for certain nonviolent repeat drug offenders;
Permitting reduced sentences for certain nonviolent, cooperative drug offenders with limited criminal histories;
Requiring prisoners to be placed within 500 miles of their primary residence so that their relatives can visit them;
Requiring low-risk prisoners to be placed in home confinement for the maximum amount of time permitted;
Requiring the Bureau of Prisons to help prisoners obtain identification documents prior to release, so they can incorporate de-escalation procedures into training programs;
Providing tampons and sanitary napkins to prisoners;
Limiting juvenile solitary confinement.
“The First Step Act is, really, in my opinion, going to go down as one of [Donald Trump’s] greatest accomplishments,” said Rollins. “It was really a transformative bill. It took about a year to move through Congress. It ultimately was passed in December, and signed by the president a few days before Christmas.”
Rollins added, “It is a wholesale look at who is coming back into society from prison, and what can we do to make sure that their re-entry is successful, that they have a real chance at the American Dream. Ultimately, what it does is improve public safety.”
Rollins stated, “A lot of people don’t know this, but four percent is what America has of the world’s population — four percent — but we have 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated. About ten years ago in Texas, we really started to look at this, and we asked why we have so many more people in prison than the rest of the world, and what it came down to was we were putting in prison a lot of our low-level non-violent drug offenders.”
Conservatives have been broadly absent from pushing for criminal justice reform, assessed Rollins.
“Conservatives have really taken a pass on this issue,” Rollins remarked. “We’ve really just been for building more prisons when in fact what we should be for is making our communities safer.”
Rollins shared some of the First Step Act’s changes to federal law.
“The federal system [didn’t] even allow faith-based groups into the prisons, unlike all the state prisons,” noted Rollins. “This law changed that. … Women who are giving birth under federal law had to be shackled, and there were some pretty monstrous stories coming out of that.”
Rollins continued, “[The First Step Act] changed the law so that — under most circumstances, non-violent [criminals] — you would have to be placed in a prison that was closer to you family because being closer to your family has been proven to decrease recidivism numbers. [It includes] a major drug treatment program.”
Rollins described the First Step Act’s goal as “making a difference in the lives” of prisoners slated for release, noting that “95 percent are coming out.”
Recruiting “the private sector [and] faith community” in “properly preparing” inmates for reintegration into civil society has “proven itself out across the country in states like Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, [and] Utah,” added Rollins.
“[These states] have all done and changed their approach to criminal justice and their crime rates have all plummeted,” claimed Rollins. “It’s been an amazing thing to see. One of the greatest policy wins of our generation.”
Rollins concluded, “Ultimately, this is such a righteous and moral fight, and I think because red states led the way on this for more than a decade, it was not as difficult as it might seem to be able to convince people on the left and the right why this makes so much sense.”
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.