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First Step Act Offers Redemption to Ex-Prisoners

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Over 2,000 federal inmates will return to their families this month under a clause in the First Step Act signed by President Donald Trump late last year.

The bipartisan bill aims to reform the U.S. federal prison system and reduce recidivism. Those freed due to “earned good time” hope to receive employment opportunities that were publicized by Trump last month as part of the Second Chance hiring program.

“We’re a nation that believes in redemption,” President Trump said to guests and recipients of the bill. “You’re gonna have an incredible future.”

Celebrities Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West played a major role in lobbying Trump to support the bill, making it one of the largest criminal justice public-private-partnerships ever.

“I just want to thank the president for really standing behind this issue and seeing the compassion that he’s had for criminal justice has been really remarkable,” Kardashian said at a White House event in June.

There Kardashian West announced a partnership with ride-sharing company, Lyft, whereby reformed prisoners can receive gift cards to use for transportation to and from job interviews.

In addition, organizations like Goodwill International and the Society for Human Resources Management have offered to assist. Other governmental departments and governors at the state level are also contributing to the effort.

Policy experts and prisoner advocates believe it’s a positive step for those seeking to improve their lives. Among other things, the act allows employees to store their firearms securely at federal prisons, expands compassionate release for terminally ill patients, places prisoners closer to family in some cases, and improves feminine hygiene in prison.

“As President, I pledged to work with both parties for the good of the whole nation,” Trump said. “And that’s what it is: It’s for the good of the whole nation.”

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