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Trump in KC: All would benefit from prison reform

Trump in KC: All would benefit from prison reform

Efforts help inmates find work, support families, stay out of jail, president says

December 9th, 2018 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

President Donald Trump points at a member of the audience while speaking the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.

Photo by Associated Press /News Tribune.

Prison reform would help inmates gain more skills that could be used in the workforce and would "get them on the right track," President Donald Trump said during a national law enforcement conference Friday in Kansas City.

Trump spoke during the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods national conference — hosted by the United States Department of Justice — at the Westin Crown Center. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nationwide initiative that helps federal, state and local law enforcement officials, prosecutors and community leaders identify crime issues and develop solutions to address those problems, according to the department's website.

Trump said he asked Congress to pass the First Step Act, a bill that seeks to reform the criminal justice system.

"We all benefit when those who have served their time find a job, support their families and stay the hell out of jail," he said.

Along with encouraging prison reform, Trump said, the PSN's main goal is to provide the resources law enforcement officials need to do their jobs. He said his administration added more violent crime prosecutors and funds for the law enforcement, reduced the murder rate in the country and signed stronger anti-drug legislation.

As part of PSN, Trump said, his administration is making officer safety a top priority, adding those who kill police officers should receive the death penalty.

"In some circles, that's very controversial to say," Trump said. "For me, it's not even a little bit controversial. You kill a cop, and it's called the death penalty."

While the PSN initiative launched in 2001, the Department of Justice announced its re-commitment to it in October. The department updated and enhanced the program using information it gathered since the launch while "emphasizing the role of our U.S. attorneys, the promise of new technologies, and above all, partnership with local communities," according to the October press release.

Conference breakout sessions covered various topics such as community policing, community development and partnerships, retaliatory violence, offender re-entry, prevention and youth programs, victim and witness intimidation, and social networking analysis.

Along with Trump, United States Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and former U.S. Attorney General and Missouri Gov. John Ashcroft also addressed conference attendees during the three-day conference.