Gov. Sam Brownback urged President Donald Trump’s administration Thursday to adopt a prison mentoring program like the one he has championed in Kansas.
Brownback met with Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other state officials and experts in Washington, D.C. to discuss prison reform and his Mentoring4Success program, which launched in 2011.
According to a White House press release, Brownback thanked Trump’s administration for taking up the issue of prison reform.
“It’s one that needs discussion and it needs focus,” Brownback said. “And I just — I deeply appreciate you doing it.”
Brownback’s Mentoring4Success program matches inmates with mentors to help them adjust to community life after incarceration. Inmates in that program, he said, return to prison at half the rate others do.
“The biggest thing that we’ve gotten done that’s been successful have been mentoring programs, private person-to-person mentoring programs,” Brownback said. “We’ve got 7,500 matches that we’ve made. Because most people, when they come out of prisons, they don’t have many relationships that are reliable or good for them to get back on their feet.”
Trump and Sessions pledged a focus on reentry programs, job training and drug addiction treatment to help reduce recidivism rates.
“The vast majority of incarcerated individuals will be released at some point, and often struggle to become self-sufficient once they exit the correctional system,” Trump said. “We have a great interest in helping them turn their lives around, get a second chance, and make our community safe.”
Trump promised his administration would be “very tough on crime” but “provide a ladder of opportunity to the future.”