Trump calls for new focus on hiring former prisoners

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he wants to follow up on criminal justice reform with efforts that help federal inmates find jobs after they leave prison.

Congress passed legislation last year called the First Step Act that gives judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders and boosts prisoner rehabilitation efforts.

Trump says Americans with criminal backgrounds are unemployed at rates up to five times the national average, which stood at 3.8 percent in February.

He says a “Second Step Act” will focus on “successful re-entry and reduced unemployment for Americans with past criminal records.” His goal is to cut that unemployment rate for ex-prisoners to single digits within five years.

The White House says Trump’s budget proposes more than $500 million to help prisoners succeed after their release.

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