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President Donald J. Trump Supports Legislative Action to Reduce Recidivism in Our Prison System

May 18, 2018

"My Administration is committed to helping former inmates become productive, law-abiding members of society." – President Donald J. Trump

EVIDENCE-BASED PROGRAMS AND REFORMS: President Donald J. Trump supports prison reform legislation to reduce prisoner recidivism rates.

  • The President has called on Congress to help former inmates who have completed their sentences to have a second chance to become contributing members of society and avoid subsequent incarceration.
  • To that end, the Administration will continue to work with Congress to achieve important prison and reentry reforms in line with the following principles:
    • Effectively use government resources to reduce crime, enhance public safety, and increase opportunity, thereby improving the lives of all Americans.
    • Evaluate current incentives for participation in reentry programs and develop improvements that tie successful completion of programming to incentives while incarcerated.
    • Promote the successful reentry of Federal inmates through the evaluation and implementation of evidence-based recidivism reduction and reentry programs.
    • Enhance existing risk and needs assessment tools and classification processes to ensure all inmates are given access to recidivism reduction programs that meet their needs.
    • Expand access to prison work programs to allow all eligible inmates who want to work to gain job skills while incarcerated and prepare for successful reentry into society.
    • Evaluate and facilitate public- and private-partnerships that improve pre- and post-release employment opportunities for inmates.
    • Prioritize funding and support for Federal programs that have proven to help reduce State prison recidivism.
  • President Trump has expressed support for prison reform legislation to:
    • Review and improve prisoner risk and needs assessment systems.
    • Promote evidence-based recidivism reduction programs.
    • Implement reasonable and compassionate prison reforms.

ASSESSING PRISONER RISKS AND NEEDS: The President supports evidence-based prisoner risk and needs assessments.

  • Evidence-based prisoner risk and needs assessments help better evaluate prisoners' recidivism risk, or the risk that they will commit another offense.
  • This reform would assist the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in reviewing the prisoner risk and needs assessment systems and develop recommendations for evidence-based recidivism reduction programs.
  • This reform would also require the BOP to use a risk and needs assessment to:
    • Classify the recidivism risk of each prisoner.
    • Assess the risk of violent misconduct of each prisoner.
    • Determine the type, amount, and intensity of recidivism reduction programs appropriate for each prisoner.
    • Assign prisoners to programs suited to their needs.
  • More effective risk and needs assessment tools would allow prisoners to be matched with recidivism reduction programming that meets their individual needs.
    • Prisoner progress would be evaluated periodically in order to make programming adjustments as needed.
    • Officers and employees administering assessment systems are required to be properly trained.

USING INCENTIVES TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM: The President supports new incentives to encourage prisoner participation in recidivism reduction programs.

  • Good prison reform includes providing incentives for prisoners to complete evidence-based recidivism reduction programs.
  • Potential incentives made available to eligible prisoners include:
    • Increased phone and video conferencing privileges.
    • Additional visitation time.
    • Transfer to an institution closer to the prisoner's residence.
    • Larger commissary spending limits.
    • More opportunities to access secure, monitored email.
    • Potential transfer to preferred housing units, including different prison facilities.
  • Rather than lowering sentences, the President supports reforms that empower prisoners participating in recidivism-reducing programming to obtain "earned-time" credits.
    • Eligible prisoners could apply these credits towards increased time in pre-release custody, such as halfway houses or home confinement.

REASONABLE AND COMPASSIONATE PRISON REFORMS: The President supports reforms that would improve the welfare of inmates.

  • Sensible prison reform includes common sense, compassionate reforms that would assist families and low-risk prisoners by:
    • Allowing BOP to place low-risk offenders in home confinement for the maximum amount of time permitted when appropriate.
    • Requiring BOP to develop a plan to improve access to medication-assisted treatment for heroin and other opioid abuses.
    • Directing BOP to explore pilot programs to provide mentorship opportunities.
    • Requiring BOP to make female-healthcare products available for female prisoners.
    • Prohibiting BOP from shackling pregnant women from the start of pregnancy through postpartum recovery, with certain exceptions.

Donald J. Trump, President Donald J. Trump Supports Legislative Action to Reduce Recidivism in Our Prison System Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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