President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would support a bipartisan prison reform bill, called the FIRST Step Act, which he said would give “former inmates a second chance at life.”
“Today, I am thrilled to announce my support for this bipartisan bill that will make our communities safer and give former inmates a second chance at life after they have served their time,” the president said during brief remarks in the Roosevelt Room.
President Trump also noted that the White House pledge to “Hire Americans” also included former prisoners who are seeking to get a fresh start. Among the present during Trump’s remarks were his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and fellow White House adviser Ivanka, faith leaders, law enforcement leaders and lawmakers supporting the legislation, CNN reports.
“I’m waiting. I’ll be waiting with a pen and we will have done something that hasn’t been done in many, many years, and it’s the right thing to do,” Trump added.
He also took some time to speak about Alice Johnson and her case, which was brought to his attention earlier this year by Kim Kardashian. Johnson is a first-time nonviolent drug offender whose sentence President Trump commuted after she had served two decades years in prison.
“I’ll never forget the scene of her coming out of prison after 21 years and greeting her family and everybody was crying. Her sons, her grandsons, everybody was crying and hugging and holding each other. It was a beautiful thing to see, it was a very tough situation,” he said.
A White House official said that the framework for criminal justice reform was first presented to Trump last year and that he had “no objection to the policy.” On the contrary, the official added, “he thought it made a lot of sense.”
The numerous supporters of the FIRST Step Act expect that the president’s backing of the bill will help propel it through Congress during the lame duck session of the legislature.