'Redemption at Heart of the American Idea': President Trump, Kelley Paul, Paula White Champion New Prison Reform
- [Amber] The movement towardcriminal justice reform
received a welcome andnecessary boost on Wednesday.
- Today I'm thrilled toannounce my support for this
bipartisan bill that willmake our communities safer,
and give former inmatesa second chance at life
after they have served their time.
- The clock is ticking on Congress' chance
to make real changes to thecriminal justice system.
While things couldn't be moredivided here on Capital Hill,
advocates say the time to act is now.
They include Kelley Paul,wife of Senator Rand Paul.
- I came to this issue alittle bit through my work
in Kentucky visitingvarious half-way houses,
recovery centers like The HopeHouse and the Isaiah House,
and realizing how pervasiveour drug problem is,
and how we need alternativesto incarcerating people.
- [Amber] Paul also saw howprison life specifically
affected female inmates.
- People are not aware ofsome of the things that were
going on in our prisons,first and foremost.
Women who were givingbirth were being shackled.
- 'Amber] For Paul, fixingthe problem, reaches directly
to the heart of justice, right and wrong.
- If you look at the numbersthat whites and blacks
use drugs at the same levels,but if you look at the rates
of incarceration, peopleof color are incarcerated
at much higher rates.
I'm a conservative, but Ialways say big government really
hurts people from all walks of life.
I think when, a lot oftimes, when progressives hear
conservatives talk about biggovernment, they think we're
just concerned about taxes orover regulation or business
or economics, but really,this is a civil rights issue.
- So Mrs. Paul is doingsomething she says her friends
aren't used to seeing,bringing her desire to right
those wrongs straight toWashington, and she's not alone.
The push for criminal justicereform extends far beyond
the halls of Congress.
Everyone from Christian advocacygroups to celebrities to
the President's son-in-law allworking together for change.
- Jared Kushner has beenthe pivotal player in this.
He personally comes to this issue.
His own father wasincarcerated, and he has been
the driving force inside ofthe White House in making sure
that this gets done.
- [Amber] Former prisonershave also been instrumental
in this fight, along with those who preach
about second chances.
2000 pastors signed a letter in support
of Congress' latest effort.
The bill, dubbed The FirstStep Act, calls for more
opportunities to receive goodtime credit, better conditions
for women, and incarceratingprisoners closer to families.
It's been a tough decisionfor a President who campaigned
on law and order.
But support from the NationalFraternal Order of Police
seemed to help balance the scales.
- The bill includesreasonable sentencing reforms,
while keeping dangerousand violent criminals
off our streets.
- [Amber] The ball is nowin the Senate's court,
where advocates hope this lameduck session can lead to a
second chance for prisonersand families across the nation.
Amber Strong, CBN News, Washington.