President Trump supports opportunities for people with a criminal record

In an editorial published on May 21, the New York Times commended President Trump for remarks at a White House conference on prison reform last week, in which he expressed support for improved employment opportunities for people with a criminal record:

“A friend of mine told me that when people get out of prison, they’re all excited.” Mr. Trump said. “And then they go and they have that stigma; they can’t get a job. People don’t want to hire them. They can’t get that chance. When we talk about our national program to hire American, this must include helping millions of former inmates get back into the work force as gainfully employed citizens.”
It appears that most of the relevant discussion at the conference last week was about a House bill aimed at preparing federal prisoners for reentry, addressing such issues as good time credit and halfway house placement.  It also appears that the prospects for federal prison reform this year are dim, given the wide gulf between the pending House bill and the insistence of Senate leadership on including provisions for sentencing reform.  Nonetheless, the President’s words will be very useful for those working in state legislatures to restore rights and status.  Already in 2018, at least 13 states have enacted laws either reforming occupational licensure or extending record-clearing laws, and bills are awaiting the governor’s signature in another five.  We are already starting work on a report summarizing legislative accomplishments in 2018 that will be modeled on “Second Chance Reforms in 2017” published last fall.