President Donald Trump continued his mission of criminal justice reform on Monday, touting victory over Bill Clinton-era crime laws.
“The law rolls back provisions of the 1994 Clinton crime law that was so devastating to so many and that disproportionately impacted the African American community,” Trump said in a celebration speech at the White House. “Nobody believes how much, and now they understand it.”
The president signed the bill in December of 2018, but supporters held an additional celebration of the bill’s success after just three months.
He announced that since the bill passed, more than 500 people with unfair prison sentences had been released in less than four months and that more than 16,000 inmates enrolled in drug treatment programs.
“It’s an incredible thing when you see some of the people here — so conservative and then some so liberal,” he said. “And we just have a lot of great people that came together. They knew it had to be done.”
The president singled out leftist activist and CNN host Van Jones for working with him on the issue as well as conservative activists Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA and Matt Schlapp of the Conservative Political Action Committee for their support.
He gave a special shoutout to his son-in-law Jared Kushner for working behind the scenes to push the legislation forward.
“Jared has had a very easy life. He was doing phenomenally in New York, and everything he touched has turned to gold, Trump said, noting that Kushner expressed interest in moving to Washington after the 2016 election to work on prison reform and peace in the Middle East.
Trump acknowledged that it had not been easy for Kushner in Washington.
“His life became extremely complex,” Trump said, as the group chuckled. “And he wouldn’t trade it. I don’t think he’d trade it, because what he’s doing is incredible.”
Trump noted that thanks to the First Step Act, more prisons were working to help reform prisoners by getting them job training programs, mentorship, and education opportunities to help them find employment after prison.
“I think maybe more than anything else, we’re now proving that we are a nation that believes in redemption,” Trump said to applause.
He said that he would continue to push for more prison reform in his administration, especially to help former inmates find employment in a booming economy.
“Today, I am announcing that the Second Step Act will be focused on successful re-entry and reduce unemployment for Americans with past criminal records,” he said. “And that’s what we starting right away.”